In the 1950s, reports of a strange phenomenon occurring in Presidio County began to attract a lot of attention. Strange balls of various colored light appeared at night—sometimes moving erratically or hovering completely still in the air. Witnesses have often reported that these balls of light appear in pairs or even larger numbers and can be seen ranging from a matter of seconds to hours before finally disappearing.
The Marfa Lights, also known as the Marfa Ghost Lights, have never appeared in the daytime and seem to be a strictly nocturnal phenomenon. No clear explanation has ever been provided, but many believe the lights to be a manifestation of spirit activity and contend that they are indeed a paranormal occurrence. Skeptics often attribute the phenomenon to passing vehicles or lights from nearby homesteads or changes in atmospheric conditions, but the strange and unpredictable pattern of movements make it difficult to say one way or another.
The lights appear randomly in the nighttime hours, and they occur year-round. They are not easily approached, however, as they appear above private property. They are often seen at varying distances and have been captured over the years in both still photography and video footage. Some visitors contend that upon witnessing the Marfa Lights, they have had profoundly personal spiritual experiences and do not believe they should simply be dismissed as a scientific mystery.
Whatever the explanation may be behind the Marfa Lights, they continue to attract curious onlookers and visitors from all over the state of Texas. A fascinating display of color and movement, the Marfa Lights may indeed be something purely environmental, but what if they’re not? Perhaps the ghosts of Presidio County often gather together in an attempt to make themselves known in the late-night hours. We may never know what the lights truly are, but as long as they continue to appear we are sure to be continually mystified by them.
April Slaughter explores more scary tales from the Lone Star State in her book Ghosthunting Texas. Join her from the safety of your armchair, or hit the road using the travel guide and her ghostly resources.
John Kachuba shares with us his story about the ghost at Taffy’s Main Street Coffee in Eaton.
Sometimes, while I was working on Ghosthunting Ohio, I wondered if maybe the spirits were helping me out; real ghostwriters, as it were. The story of Taffy’s Main Street Coffee in Eaton is an example of what I mean.
My wife, Mary, and I had been in Eaton in the spring to investigate Fort St. Clair, a historic site said to be haunted by the ghosts of several Kentucky militiamen killed there by Miami Indians in 1792. After visiting the battlefield site, we drove back through downtown Eaton and spotted the colorful umbrellas shading the tables on the sidewalk outside Taffy’s. The shop had an interesting Victorian feel to it, so we stopped in.
It was a Sunday afternoon and we were the only customers. I chatted with the server and told her why we were in town. She was interested in the project and, as I left, I gave her one of my business cards, Ghosthunting Ohio printed prominently across it. We drove back to Athens and forgot all about Taffy’s.
Three weeks later a woman identifying herself as Nancy Peters, owner of Taffy’s, left a message for me on my answering machine. She had found my card by the cash register when she was cleaning and assumed I wanted to talk to her about the ghost at Taffy’s!
Of course, I would have wanted to talk with her had I known there was a ghost there (okay, I can’t always find them), so I called her back. Nancy was excited to have someone to talk to about her story. “I would never have believed such a thing could happen to me,” she said. She told me that she and her husband, Tony, bought the old Victorian building that now serves as both Taffy’s and their home in 1992, although they did not open the coffee shop until 1999.
The part of the building that is now the coffee shop was formerly a jewelry store. You can still see the place where the jeweler’s heavy safe crashed through the floor when Nancy and Tony started their renovations. The owner of the jewelry store had died under “unusual circumstances,” and his body was discovered on the floor behind the jewelry counter.
Before they opened Taffy’s the old store was part of the Peterses’ home, and it was in that section that the hauntings occurred. While both Nancy and Tony experienced the same events, they never experienced them together. Strange things would happen only when one or the other was alone in the house.
One day while Nancy was upstairs, she heard the sounds of her stepson’s electric guitar. “I knew I was alone in the house, so that really scared me, hearing this loud guitar strumming. I went downstairs, but there was no one there. Worse, the guitar wasn’t even plugged in. It couldn’t have played, but it did,” Nancy said. “That was pretty scary, but nothing like the voice that came out from the wall.”
Nancy said that a voice she clearly identified as being that of a male came from high up on the wall and called, “Max!” the name of her dog. “It scared the dog a lot,” she said. “There was no one there and yet there was this voice calling him. It was kind of a gravelly voice, definitely a man’s voice, maybe an old man.”
Tony also heard the voice, but at a different time. “It was about this time that I thought maybe I should get the house blessed. I have a friend who is a Catholic priest and I thought about asking him to do it.”
“Did you go through with it?” I asked.
“No. Instead, I started talking to the ghost for a few days, telling it that it was scaring me and my family and asking it to please move on.”
It Takes Courage to Talk to a Ghost
It takes some courage to talk to a ghost and try to make your peace with it, so that you and your resident ghost can “live” together in harmony, but professional ghostbusters will tell you that the idea of living in harmony with a ghost is not a good one. A ghost, they say, needs to move on, whether it is a good ghost or a bad ghost. It simply no longer belongs on earth and needs to find its way to its own realm.
Nancy doesn’t feel that the ghost is threatening in any way and, in fact, the activity at Ta=y’s has quieted down. “But you still feel a sadness in your heart, like something’s still hanging around,” she said.
Nancy told me that the owner of another old building nearby was also experiencing similar phenomena, and she wondered aloud if perhaps they could be connected—maybe the same ghost visiting both places. I didn’t know for sure, but I thought it was possible. Just think of how many places Elvis has been spotted in.
Ghosts are often stirred up when the places they used to know in life are altered or renovated. Such activity seems to make them nervous (assuming ghosts can be nervous) and anxious. Some researchers say that the resulting paranormal activity is the ghost’s way of showing its displeasure with the changes in its familiar environment. Maybe this is what was going on at Taffy’s.
Even though things are not as frightening at Taffy’s as they were before, Nancy said that, “Without a doubt, his spirit is still around. It has been a life-changing experience for me, because it was real.”
Who knows if the ghost will make itself known again? Since the Peterses decided not to contact the priest after all, it may only be a matter of time before voices are speaking from the walls again.
About the author: John Kachuba is the award-winning author of twelve books and numerous articles, short stories and poems. Among his awards are the Thurber Treat Prize for humor writing awarded by The Thurber House and First Place in the Dogwood Fiction Contest. John teaches Creative Writing at Ohio University, Antioch University Midwest and the Gotham Writers Workshop. He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Horror Writers Association, and the American Library Association’s Authors for Libraries. John frequently speaks on paranormal and metaphysical topics and is a regular speaker at conferences, universities and libraries and on podcasts, radio and TV.
April Slaughter reports about something dark and sinister lurking in Hell’s Gates, Texas
A small piece of land in northwest Texas near the Lubbock Cemetery has earned a reputation over the past three decades for being an area rife with paranormal activity—resulting from years of reported accidental deaths, suicides, murder, and even Satanic worship.
A wooded area littered with biking and hiking trails, the area has become known as Hell’s Gates. In recent years, it has attracted many people interested in practicing occult rituals. The occurrences of séances and various other attempts at contacting the dead have led many to believe that paranormal activity was summoned to Hell’s Gates rather than having originated here.
Locals and ghosthunters alike have dozens of stories they are more than willing to share with anyone interested in hearing them. Legend has it that a young woman was once hanged from the train trestle that runs through the property, and that she can be heard crying in the night. Some believe they have captured her apparition in photographs during their investigations of Hell’s Gates, often looking as though she were hanging from a rope or simply floating in mid-air just below the trestle. While there is no official record of her existence or death here, her alleged presence continues to attract the curious.
Psychics have often reported the impression of something dark and sinister lurking about the area, angry and defiant, not at all welcoming of nighttime visitors and investigators looking to capture evidence of its existence. Equipment failure is fairly common due to odd battery drainages and rare malfunctions that are often associated with paranormal activity. The area’s atmosphere is said to change almost instantly from calm and serene in the daylight to uncomfortable and frightening at night. While many are attracted to Hell’s Gates when the sun goes down, not many attempt to stick around to see the sun come up.
April Slaughter explores more scary tales in the Lone Star State in her book Ghosthunting Texas. Join her from the safety of your armchair, or hit the road using the travel guide and her ghostly resources.
Fort Meigs State Memorial is located across the Maumee River south of Toldeo. Throughout the year, various events are held at Fort Meigs, including a lantern-lit Garrison Ghostwalk in October. For more information visit the website.
At the Rider’s Inn in Painsville, owner Elaine Crane and the spirit of Mistress Suzanne invite you to stay awhile in one of the inn’s 10 antiques-furnished guest rooms. Rider’s Inn hosts “taleful” candlelit dinners with ghost stories and a guest psychic every October. You can book your haunted stay here.
In addition to being haunted, the Majestic Theatre in Chillicothe is America’s oldest, continuously operating theater. The theater offers ghost storytelling and a haunted tour,plus quality entertainment. Visit their website to find out what’s playing. The theater is located in Chillicothe’s historic district, where you can find interesting shops and restaurants within walking distance.
The Ohio State Reformatory is a chilling and thoroughly haunted old prison as well as the site for the filming of The Shawshank Redemption. For a fee, you can join a tour regularly scheduled in the warmer months. On select dates in September and October, the building is home to the Paranormal Penitentiary, where you can join the Slayers of the Damned.
The Castle of Marietta is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival-style architecture in Ohio, and, of course, it is haunted! The Castle, now on the National Register of Historic Places, offers tours and events on select days.
In October,a guided lantern tour of The Castle is offered to hear—and maybe even experience—the ghostly apparitions, sounds, and strange occurrences that are on record to have impacted the staff, volunteers, and guests of The Castle in the past. The 2016 date for the tour is October 28th.
About the author: John Kachubais the award-winning author of 12 books and numerous articles, short stories, and poems. Among his awards are the Thurber Treat Prize for humor writing, given by The Thurber House, and First Place in the Dogwood Fiction Contest. John teaches Creative Writing at Ohio University, Antioch University Midwest, and the Gotham Writers Workshop. He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Horror Writers Association, and the American Library Association’s Authors for Libraries. John frequently speaks on paranormal and metaphysical topics and is a regular speaker at conferences, universities, and libraries and on podcasts, radio, and TV.
You’ve heard the stories that begin, “It was a dark and stormy night,” right? Apparently there’s a reason that rain and lightning—not the night—are believed to be scientifically responsible for the increase in paranormal activity. One of the theories about ghosts appearing during storms at or near locations with bodies of water, is that ghosts feed off negative ions.
In a single cubic centimeter of inland office air, there are about 100 negative ions. Normal outdoor fair-weather ion concentrations are between 200 and 800 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At the beach, however, you’ll find more than 5,000 negative ions in that same amount of space.
The natural movement of the churning ocean and wind creates negative ions and provides an electrical power source of sorts. Negative ions are made through a process similar to how static electricity is produced through friction. When an event such as water passing through air occurs, the friction detaches an electron from a neutral molecule (atom) and becomes a positive ion, and the molecule gaining the electron becomes a negative ion. This is why an abundance of negatively charged ions are found near the ocean. Thunderstorms also create negative ions via the friction caused by clouds heavy with moisture moving through the atmosphere.
When humans experience high counts of negative ions, they yield biochemical reactions that increase the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin (which seems to dispel normal levels of the blues and calm stress). If you believe the theory of negative ions increasing paranormal activity, you can see why it’s easier to make contact in an environment filled with a natural electrical feed.
A comparison of the environmental factors of paranormal activity gathered on successful investigations versus less productive ones seems to give credence to the theory of negative ions. I own a battery-operated negative-ion pet brush that creates trillions of negative ions per second. It’s mobile and soundless, but you have to be willing to brush your hair at an investigation. Mini negative-ion generators are also available with a USB plug, and there are bracelets that are said to create negative ions using light and natural minerals (but I have found nothing in these products that would actually cause them to do so), and even a mobile wall unit that plugs in and is only a few inches in size. If you use an EM Pump and a negative-ion generator, the negative-ion generator naturally negates most EMF.
Just to test this theory, I invite you all to start keeping a journal of the paranormal activity you do (and don’t) get and start writing down things like weather temperature and barometric pressure. There are also small devices to count negative ions. Add them to your ghosthunting tool kit and see what kinds of trends you find.
In Ghosthunting Southern California, author Sally Richards takes readers on an eerie journey through the region on a series of paranormal investigations to historic locations marred by tragedy and unfortunate happenstance that have caused the dead to rise. This Halloween, join her if you dare!
About the author: Sally Richards is a historian, paranormal investigator, and spiritualist medium. She brings history alive as she investigates locations alongside high-profile experts and others who share a similar curiosity of the paranormal, bringing you the latest on “haunted” locations throughout Southern California.
Theaters are rich sources for paranormal phenomena. Before you venture into a theater to start hunting, it’s important to know a bit about theater traditions, superstitions, and folklore. L’Aura Hladik, author of Ghosthunting New York City, shares with us one of ten theater superstitions.
Never say “Macbeth”
Never say “Macbeth” in a theater. It’s traditional to avoid uttering the word “Macbeth” inside a theater. Actors, stagehands, and theater patrons refer to the play as “that Scottish play,” and they call its leading-lady character “Lady M.” If one does say “Macbeth” inside a theater, he must promptly exit the theater, spin three times counterclockwise, spit, swear, and then knock on the theater door and ask to be let back in. If that “undoing” ritual is not conducted, the curse of Macbeth will bring bad luck, leading to accidents on set and catastrophes in the lives of the performers and staff. Granted, Macbeth has more swordfights than most other plays, which in itself increases the chance of accidents. However, there are many stories of theater personnel thinking the superstition was silly and subsequently suffering the consequences with minor accidents and bad luck.
There are various theories about the Macbeth curse. Some say that the lines Shakespeare wrote for the three witches are actual incantations, and that therefore each performance of the play casts forth spells and curses. Others believe Macbeth is cursed because, being a crowd-pleasing production, theater owners would stage it as a last-ditch effort to save a struggling theater. Sadly, within weeks of the play’s performance, the troubled theater would be out of business anyway; thus The Tragedy of Macbeth became a “kiss of death” production.
In her book Ghosthunting New York City, L’Aura Hladik visits more than 30 legendary haunted places, all of which are open to the public—so you can test your own ghosthunting skills, if you dare.
About the series: America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles 30 haunted places that are open to the public. The author visits each place, from inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, interviewing people who live and work there. Also included are travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of many more places that the reader can visit.
Photograph of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, based on an 1888 production, Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection.
By Window & Grove (photographer) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Kailyn Lamb, author of Ghosthunting Colorado, looks at locations throughout the state and dives headfirst into the history behind the ghosts and what has made them stay. Join her investigation of Mattie’s House of Mirrors.
One of the busiest bars in the lower downtown area of Denver was once home to one of the city’s more popular brothels, Mattie’s House of Mirrors. The House of Mirrors was built in 1889 by Jennie Rogers, whose primary objective was to compete with the brothel owned by Mattie Silks. When the building first opened, it was located on Holladay Street; in the late 1880s to early 1890s, the street would later be called Market Street. In 1894, before Rogers opened for business, brothel owners were shaking in their boots due to the murders of three prostitutes on Market Street, which became known as Strangler’s Row as a result.
In Mattie’s, Mirrors Covered the Walls
Silks took over the business in 1910. Once she was in control of the building, she converted the lower floor into a respectable restaurant. The building gained its name the “House of Mirrors” because any and all space was covered in mirrors. The upstairs of the building was a little less family friendly than the restaurant.
The Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society (RMPRS) investigated the building in 2000 due to the alleged activity reported there. While there are plenty of rumors about people who have died in the building, the RMPRS could only find the record for the death of one woman, Ella Wellington. She was at one point an owner of the building; however, in addition to that, she may have also been an accountant or working girl for the location. RMPRS could not determine the cause of her death.
Some of the reports of ghostly activity come from the room in which Wellington died, but the activity is not limited to that room. Some activities that have been reported are the piano playing by itself, the elevator moving between floors when it has not been called, and the smell of smoke in the bathrooms. Several people have also reported hearing parties when no one is in the building. Several staff members refuse to go to the upstairs area of Mattie’s alone. During this investigation, the researchers were able to pick up what sounded like a conversation between two voices in a corner. The recorded conversation can be found on the RMPRS website.
The building now houses a bar called LoDo’s. It is no longer covered in mirrors, but a plaque can be seen on the front of the building commemorating Mattie Silks and her House of Mirrors.
The North Carolina coast is one of the most dangerous of the Atlantic for ships. The unpredictable and treacherous currents and ever-shifting sandbars have run more ships aground here than anywhere else along the Eastern Seaboard, giving the North Carolina coast the nickname Graveyard of the Atlantic. This is why so many lighthouses were built in the state, as a warning to sailors as they approached the coastline.
Built in 1875, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse is located to the north of Bodie Island and was the last major lighthouse erected on the Outer Banks. Its most distinguishing feature may be that it remains in its original brick form, rather than being painted in a bold black-and-white pattern like most other North Carolina lighthouses.
The Story of the First Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, Sadie
Each lighthouse hired what was called a “keeper,” a man who would care for the lighthouse and ensure that the light was in good working order at all times. A small cottage was built next to each lighthouse in order to house the keeper and his family. Once construction was complete on the lighthouse and cottage, the first lighthouse keeper for the Currituck Beach Lighthouse settled into the cottage with his wife and their daughter, Sadie. Sadie slept in what is referred to as the north bedroom of the cottage.
One day Sadie was playing on the beach and went missing. Her body was found washed up on shore the next day. Shortly after her demise, people reporting seeing the ghost of a little girl appearing around the lighthouse and the cottage. Rumors began to spread that the keeper’s cottage was cursed and that illness, misery, and death fell to anyone who slept in the north bedroom. Over the years, lighthouse keepers and their guests who slept in the north bedroom reported seeing and feeling a ghost in the room, and several became ill while sleeping in the room.
Ghostly Apparitions and Other Restless Spirits Frequently Seen Around the Lighthouse
Until recently, it was unclear why so many spirits appeared in this area. In 2009, after a ferocious winter storm along the Outer Banks, waves from the Atlantic Ocean dredged up a shipwreck, placing it at the edge of the shore. The ship appears to be from the early 1600s and may be the oldest shipwreck ever found along the coast of North Carolina. East Carolina University (ECU) students, underwater archaeologists, maritime history experts, and members of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission worked around the clock in a race against the tide to pull the shipwreck farther up the beach to safety. The ECU team continues to work on identifying the ship; most recently, coins were found with fleur-de-lis symbols on one side and the image of King Louis XIII on the other. While the name of the ship, along with her crew and passengers, has not yet been identified, such a large ship most likely was carrying a full load of goods and passengers.
The ship sank more than 200 years before the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was built near its underwater grave. It’s very likely that the ghostly passengers wandered the coast of Currituck Beach for hundreds of years and now make the Currituck Lighthouse and keeper’s cottage their home. Many also suspect that young Sadie may have been lured into the ocean after seeing one of the ghosts in the water, which led to her drowning.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse (outside) by Warfieldian (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Stairs inside Currituck Beach Lighthouse by By rpertiet (The Stairs) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Stanley Hotel Ranked as One of the Most-Haunted Buildings in the United States
When writing a book on haunted locations in the state of Colorado, the Stanley Hotel simply cannot be overlooked. It was ranked as one of the most-haunted buildings in the United States by Denver’s KUSA/9News in September 2014 and is widely regarded as the most haunted place in Colorado. The hotel does not shy away from its haunted reputation and, in fact, thrives under the idea. Guests can even participate in haunted tours of the building and grounds with a guide named Scary Mary. The hotel is also host to numerous horror film festivals throughout the year.
Stanley Hotel Best Known for Stephen King’s The Shining
Another story that makes the hotel so popular involves Stephen King’s The Shining. King was inspired to write this popular novel, which was published in 1977, after staying in the hotel. Later, in 1980, Stanley Kubrick was so enthralled by the novel that he made it into the popular movie of the same title. It is regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time, and the Stanley Hotel plays the film on loop, 24 hours a day, on channel 42. This movie, however, was not filmed on location at the Stanley Hotel because of a lack of necessary lighting and power, according to Kubrick. Supposedly King did not like Kubrick’s film and felt that it ignored many of the themes in his book. According to tours at the hotel, King supervised a made-for-TV version of The Shining that was shot at the Stanley and aired in 1997. One of the more noticeable differences between the book and the movie is the giant hedge/maze. King’s version had giant hedge animals that moved and taunted characters, while Kubrick’s movie had an eerie maze.
In 2009, the hotel celebrated 100 years of wowing the nation as a successful haunted hotel. No one is sure when the haunts in question began. Several different apparitions and instances of paranormal activity have been reported throughout the building, especially in the lobby. The ghost of Stanley himself, as one might expect, has ostensibly been seen throughout the building. Additionally, his wife, Flora, who was a professional pianist, is thought to be the unseen player that tickles the keys later at night in the Music Room (although some report that it is not Flora but her husband who plays the ghostly tunes).
Lots of Paranormal Activity Reported on the Fourth Floor of the Stanley Hotel
The fourth floor of the hotel is another location where paranormal activity is often reported. Dunraven, the wealthy man from whom Stanley bought the land, is reportedly seen in room 407, accompanied by the smell of his tobacco pipe. It is strange that Dunraven’s ghost should appear here, however, as he never stayed in the hotel and had left the country before it was even built. The lights also seem to have a mind of their own in the room, and there have been reports of a ghostly face looking out the window when the room is not occupied. According to an online video tour of the hotel led by Scary Mary, the fourth floor was originally a cavernous attic and was one of the few locations where children were permitted. People have said they can hear the sound of children laughing and running through the halls, especially in room 418. Some have reported the sound of bouncing balls, and others still have reported the feeling of being tucked in at night, a duty given to the children’s nannies. There is a closet that notoriously opens and closes on its own in room 401, and in room 428 people report hearing footsteps on the roof and their furniture being moved around. There is also said to be a friendly ghost called the Cowboy in that room, whose apparition tends to stand near one of the corners of the foot of the bed.
Photos taken of the hotel have been known to depict orbs or even ghostly silhouettes. One area of the hotel, a stairwell, creates a sort of vortex of activity in images, and photos of that area often show greenish orbs. Sometimes, the more human-shaped ghosts that appear in photos are seen in rooms or areas where guests are not allowed or are not staying in at the time.
Stanley Hotel Not Shy About its Reputation
The hotel does not shy away from its reputation as the most haunted hotel in Colorado. As a matter of fact, in addition to daily historical tours, the hotel also gives daily haunted tours. Its website lists several tour packages, including a historical/paranormal combo tour, a nighttime ghost tour, and a five-hour ghosthunt through the most haunted areas of the hotel. All of the tours require advance booking and have separate costs. According to one article, the Stanley earns more than $1 million on tours alone. It also has a “haunted photo gallery” that includes spoof ghost photos of different locations in the hotel. Its online store includes items that pay homage to The Shining with oozing, bloodlike lettering spelling out “REDRUM.” There is even an annual horror film festival there, dubbed the Stanley Film Festival, that was founded in 2013.
Much of the hotel’s fame is due to the success of King’s book and Kubrick’s film. Are the ghosts just there to play along, or is the Stanley Hotel really as haunted as they say? The best way to find out is to visit it yourself.
Ghosthunting Colorado is the latest book in the popular America’s Haunted Road Trip Series. The guide covers 30 haunted locations in Colorado. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.
About the author: Kailyn Lamb holds a degree in journalism from Mississippi State University. She has always had a fascination with otherworldly things, and she devours horror movies, Stephen King novels, and ghost stories as often as she can. Kailyn lives in Denver, CO.
Bryan Bonner/Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society
By Rominator (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Bruce Vittetoe (Lobby Piano Uploaded by xnatedawgx) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Does telling creepy tales around the campfire sound like a perfect night out? Is scaring yourself silly your idea of a good time? Well, the Midwest is home to some pretty spooky ghost stories, but wait until you read about this terrifying monster.
Late at night, O.V. White was asleep in his room over the hardware store. He was startled awake by a strange sound, like a wood file rubbing against another. Grabbing his gun, he darted to the window. He threw it open and peered out into the rainy darkness. As his eyes adjusted, he saw a dark figure. It was perched on the cross arm of the telephone pole, about 15 feet away. But it didn’t have the light that the others had talked about. He aimed carefully and fired. Instead of killing it, he only seemed to wake the monster. It turned on its light and studied him. A strange, awful odor overtook him, and he felt like he was being held in some sort of trance.
Sidney Gregg was asleep in his store. He awoke after hearing a gunshot that came from across the street. He rushed to the door and stared at the creature descending from the telephone pole. Using its large beak in the same way a caged bird climbs around, it made its way down the pole. When it got to the ground, it flapped its featherless wings. It was at least 8 feet tall, and the light on its head was as bright as an electric bulb. The creature flapped its wings again and hopped up and down.
As it did at the same time every night, the mail train passed through town. The sudden noise seemed to surprise the monster, and it flew away, in the direction of the coal mine.
There is, of course, more to this story. Are you brave enough to find out about this monster and the other chilling creatures that have been seen in the Heartland?
In their book Monsters of the Midwest, paranormal investigators Jessica Freeburg and Natalie Fowler share reportedly true accounts of the strangest, most bizarre sightings of Big Foot, werewolves, and other monsters. Their collection of stories is sure to keep you up at night. Try to remember: That noise you hear… it’s probably just the wind.
About the authors: Jessica Freeburg is the founder of Ghost Stories Ink (a group of authors and illustrators who go on ghost hunts for creative inspiration) and has performed paranormal investigations at a variety of reportedly haunted locations. She has written YA fiction, middle grade narrative nonfiction, and short stories for children and adults. Jessica lives in Lakeville, MN. Natalie Fowler does freelance editorial work and writes her own stories. She is a staff editor for Fate Magazine and is a paranormal investigator for Ghost Stories Ink. Natalie lives in Saint Paul, MN.
This tale is an excerpt from the Van Meter Mystery.