As we come to the close of October and Ghost Month, I’m leaving you with a little story that still sends a row of goosebumps up my spine.
Christmas Eve was an exciting time for my mother Joan and her brother Eddie. Even though the family didn’t have a lot of money, somehow their father Robert always managed to find enough for the holiday. Robert enjoyed spending all day on Christmas Eve shopping in town for his family. When he arrived at home he was always in jolly good cheer *wink*, after spending the day in the stores and sharing his *cheer* with friends and family along the way.
My mother and her brother could hardly contain themselves as they waited for their father to return home every Christmas Eve. His routine was the same, year after year and he always came home at the same time – just in time for a Christmas Eve supper. One year, sometime around 1950 they became worried. Robert didn’t show up. It was getting later and later – the supper my grandmother spent all day preparing got cold – and Gertrude was about to fetch someone to go looking for him.
Late in the evening, just as the family had about given up on him, Robert burst through the doors and looked quite a site. He was so excited and his words were coming out so fast that Eddie and Joan were having a hard time understanding them. After my grandmother reheated his supper and while he was warming up by the fire he told them all about his ride back from Princeton.
It started out normal enough, he left Princeton just before dark and decided to go visit his brother over in Gardner before coming home. As he was driving the winding road headed to his brother’s place he saw a Miss Florence, whom he had known all his life, walking down the middle of the road without shoes or a coat. Robert stopped to pick her up and he thought she was acting strangely, but asked her where she wanted to go. Miss Florence simply said “home”. My grandfather proceeded to make a U-turn, knowing that she lived a couple of miles back the other way.
As they passed an area near a stream called Brush Creek, Robert slowed to take a curve and noticed that Miss Florence had gotten out of the car and was walking through the woods towards the creek. He thought it was odd, not only because of the obvious reasons, but also because he hadn’t seen her open the car door! Robert quickly pulled over and went chasing after Miss Florence thinking she must have been ill and not quite right in the head. He could see her heading down a path getting further and further away from him then suddenly he was stopped in his tracks by something he’d never seen before.
Three large balls of light flew right in front of him as if they were warning him away. Robert said each ball of light would stop for a minute in front of him, then move on down the path. It shook him up so much that he just stood frozen in one spot and couldn’t move for a few minutes. When he did regain his senses he began running down the path to find poor Miss. Florence. Robert could find no sign of her, even though he trampled around the woods for a long time searching. After he gave up in the woods, he went to her house, but no one was home.
Feeling all out of sorts and not sure what to do next, he decided to just go home.
Eddie and Joan sat wide-eyed listening to the story, but their mother – Gertrude – was beside herself. After Robert finished the story she said ” Robert – do you mean to tell me you picked up Old Florence Miller?” Robert answered “Yup, and she must really be sick because she sure wasn’t acting right.” Gertrude replied “Robert – Old Florence died just last week, she was buried in Princeton just yesterday.”
I hope you enjoyed our Ghost Month and I hope you now have a few stories to pass along to your children so you can spook them as well as we were all spooked as children. Some family traditions just shouldn’t be lost!
By the Way – My mother NEVER took me down to see Brush Creek – I explored it on my own for the first time just last summer. The falls and creek are beautiful – but as you walk the trail you can just feel generations of eyes watching you. If you visit Brush Creek Falls – be sure to get out of there after dark!