Friday, November 18, 2016

The Haunted Lighthouse

Most folks have seen and been entertained at one time or another by a player-piano - a self-playing piano containing a mechanical mechanism that operates the piano through pre-programmed music recorded on perforated paper. Watching the piano keys moving without the assistance of human fingers however, is pretty spooky; like there is an unseen ghost sitting there on the bench playing tunes. So just imagine how spooky it is to hear piano music in a place where there is not only no pianist, but no piano either. Visitors to the Seguin Island lighthouse often have just such an experience.

About a mile off the coast of Maine near the mouth of the Kennebec River is a finger of land named Seguin Island. The recorded history of this small island is a long one, at least by American standards. In 1607, two small ships, "The Gift of God" and the "Mary and John," came to America from England and dropped anchor near the island. The settlers on board hoped to establish the first English colony in North America. They built a small town along the banks of the Kennebec River and planted a few crops. Unfortunately for them, they had arrived too late in the growing season for this area and many of the settlers perished due to the cold winter and starvation. As soon as the weather allowed, they got on their ships and high-tailed it back to England.

Even the local natives usually steered clear of the boiling waters pounding on the rocks along the island's edge. The name "Seguin" is an English corruption of an Indian word which loosely translated means "place where the sea vomits." After those first settlers departed, the island was left to the natives and largely undisturbed until the late 1700's. In 1795, with numerous ships having met their untimely end on the island's rocks, George Washington gave the order to build the first "watch tower" on the island. A year later, the lighthouse was put into operation.

Congress had appropriated $6,300 (a right tidy sum in 1795) for sturdy construction of the lighthouse using the most modern methods known at the time. The owner of the construction firm which was awarded the contract though built the tower of wood and cheap materials and absconded with the rest of the funds. Wooden towers do not long survive the wet environment and winter storms of the island and by 1819, the lighthouse had been virtually demolished and had to be rebuilt. It was rebuilt according to plans with stone and only cost $2,500.

The original lighthouse keeper was Count John Polersky who was born to a noble family in Europe and had immigrated to America where he served as a major in the Continental Army. Living alone on the uninhabited island proved to be a severe hardship. From the very first, his keeper's shack and the wooden tower were battered by the waves and weather. He built several barns to hold a few head of livestock, but storms destroyed them soon after they were built. Other storms destroyed or sank three different boats he had built to transport him back and forth to the mainland. The wet, salty air killed his garden and ruined his health. One day, after not hearing from Polersky for several weeks, a shopkeeper rowed out to check on him and found him dead on the floor of his little house.

A number of other lighthouse keepers were hired, but none stayed for long. The isolation and terrible conditions always drove them away. About 1850, a young man accepted the keeper's position. He was engaged to a young city girl and soon after accepting the position, the two were married and the young bride moved with her new husband to the isolated lighthouse home where their only neighbors were the seals and seabirds.

It didn't take long for the lively, socially outgoing bride to become bored without the interesting conversation and stimulating entertainment she had enjoyed in the city. Her husband was a quiet man who believed in hard work, but he loved his wife dearly. In an effort to lift her spirits, he purchased a piano in the city and with great effort, floated it across the inlet on a raft, hoisted it up the steep slopes of the island and installed it in the parlor of their home.

The wife very much appreciated the effort and lengths he had gone to for her and she began to practice. Unfortunately, she proved to be very musically challenged. With nothing else to do though, she practiced every day, hour after hour. She eventually managed to learn one small tune and in an effort to perfect her playing of it, she played that same tune over and over again. Her husband hinted that she should try to learn another tune, but she was either unable or unwilling to try anything but the tune she already knew. Day and night, she played the same little tune until her husband demanded she stop playing it, but apparently she had become seriously obsessed, so much so that her husband was worried about her sanity. He should have been worried about his own.

Wherever he went in the lighthouse he could hear the notes of that one maddening song repeated again and again. He could hear them in the kitchen as he made himself something to eat. He could hear them while he worked with the equipment. He could hear them as he worked with the supplies. He could hear them when he went to the top of the lighthouse. Eventually he could hear them even when his wife had left the piano and went to bed. It wasn't long before he couldn't sleep because of that damnable tune playing over and over in his head.

One day the poor keeper could stand it no longer. As his wife was playing that infernal tune yet again, he went to the tool shed, retrieved an ax and marched to the parlor where his wife sat on her stool. He lifted the heavy ax high above his head and with a mighty swing, brought it down onto the piano. The piano splintered, but he couldn't stop himself. Swing after swing rendered the piano into kindling, twisted strings and shattered ivory keys. His poor wife, too astonished or too afraid to move, was still sitting on her stool when the keeper turned the ax on her.

Amidst the piano debris, the pieces of his dear wife and the massive amount of blood, the keeper fell to the parlor floor. Coming to his senses and unable to live with himself and what he had done, he lifted the ax high in the air once more and let it fall, splitting his skull wide open.

There is no written proof of such a horrible deed happening at the lighthouse. Some say it is only a legend, but others say records were destroyed and the matter covered up or else hiring other keepers would prove to be impossible. But tourists visiting the lighthouse in the summer months very often report hearing piano music. Numerous keepers who came along later, their wives and children included, also report hearing piano music, always the same tune. They report it can be heard in the house, within the walls of the tower, and even standing outside. Many also say they have heard a soft, male voice when there is no one around. Several keepers abruptly left the island, refusing to return because of the whispering voice they heard when they were all alone. Could it be poor, lonely Count Polersky still yearning for companionship?

A few times, keepers have reported seeing ghostly figures, a man and a woman, walking hand-in-hand along the top of the cliffs at twilight, long after all visitors have left the island. It's probably just fanciful stories, but it seems more agreeable to believe it is the unfortunate husband and wife, unwilling or unable to leave the place where their lives came to such a gruesome and premature end, reunited and reconciled in the afterlife.
 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Haunted Baker Hotel

The Baker Hotel, 2015.
The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas was opened on November 22, 1929 just 3 weeks after the stock market crash of 1929. Known as the "Grand Old Lady," the hotel was a success as soon as it opened and was a top spa destination during the 1930s. When the nearby Fort Wolters closed down after World War II in 1946 however, both the Baker Hotel and the city declined. After the war ended and Mineral Wells was no longer the growing, bustling town it was before, the owners of the Baker Hotel did everything they could to stay in business, but costs exceeded income and it eventually closed for good in 1973.
 
The owner, Mr. Baker, moved into a fancy suite on the 10th floor with his family when the hotel opened. It is known he also maintained a suite for his red-headed mistress on the 7th floor. He lived in his hotel until his death in 1972. For the last 20 years of his life, he endured the decline of his fortune and watched the decline of his once luxurious hotel.

Just because the Baker Hotel has been closed to the living since 1973 doesn't mean it has been devoid of activity. The hotel remains a grand old structure containing thousands of stories of the people that stayed there - some during their last days as they sought cures for terrible illnesses. The reports of ghosts and hauntings began in the Baker long before it closed. A porter who worked there in the 1950's and 60's was the first known to witness the ghost of the woman on the 7th floor. She looks and dresses like the pictures of Mr. Baker's reported mistress. Rumors from the time say Mr. Baker refused her demands that he leave his family and marry her. Distraught, she jumped to her death from the top of the building. The year of the incident has not been verified but the room she stayed in was a suite on the southeast corner of the 7th floor. Many have reported smelling her perfume and her spirit is said to be quite flirtatious with men she may fancy.
 
Other records report that a drunken woman tried to jump into one of the swimming pools from the 12th floor balcony and died in the fall. Another reports that a married male cook got into a huge fight with his girlfriend, who was a maid at the hotel. She threatened to tell his wife about their love. He lost his temper and control, and stabbed her to death in the kitchen pantry. Recently a woman, who worked as a maid in the hotel, reported that on several occasions she found glasses in one particular room with red lipstick stains on the rims. This took place at times when no one was staying in the room.

The last manager of the hotel while it was still in business reported that one night he was near the main lobby on the first floor when he heard the distinct sound of a woman in high heals walking across the lobby. Thinking the footsteps to be those of his female assistant manager, he yelled out her name. The footsteps then faded away and upon further inspection, he found himself totally alone. Later he discovered that the assistant manager had not even been in the building that day.

On another occasion, he reported being on the 7th floor repairing an electrical breaker for the Christmas lights which continuously tripped every night during the display. As he was inspecting the fuse box, he heard the footsteps of an unseen person quietly walking up to his left as if not to bother him. A bit startled, he turned to look and saw no one. He said it certainly spooked him, but he spoke to the seemingly empty room and assured the possible ghost(s) that he meant no harm. After that night the lights never tripped off again.

Another incident occurred during a tour of the hotel by a group of World War II veterans and their spouses. As the group entered the empty "Brazos Room" on the first floor, which was the main dining room and dance area, a couple suddenly stopped. The woman looked at her husband and asked, "Do you hear that?" He replied, "I certainly do". About that time, several other people in the group began to hear sounds of dishes and silverware clanking as well as people talking with orchestra music in the background. Nearly all of the people there reported this event. It has never happened before nor since, but the witnesses were sure they were experiencing the ghostly echoes of a time long past.

A lady who worked at the drive-through bank located across the street from the empty hotel in the early 1990's reported that she and other tellers had their workstations facing the huge hotel. During slow times they noticed hotel windows open on various floors. Later they would notice these windows closed and others would be open. After awhile they began to take note and count which were opened and closed. One of the girls told the others "it must be the man who lives in the building and takes care of it." After that, the interest ceased and they stopped noticing. The strange thing is, no one has ever stayed in the Baker at any time since its closure in 1973 and there never was a caretaker.

A local Mineral Wells
woman who claimed to be a psychic told a reporter that ever since she was a young girl she had the ability to see spirits. She said she had been in the Baker many times and swore the numerous stories of ghosts and spirits are true. She said, "The Baker is very haunted, but not like we think. Most ghosts didn't necessarily die at the Baker, but returned after death because the hotel represented a wonderful time in their lives."


She went on to say that most of the spirits in the hotel do not want to be seen or heard with the exception of a small child. A little boy, about six to eight years old, was the only one to communicate with her. He told her he died in a hotel apartment in 1933 while his parents were seeking medicinal treatment for his leukemia. She also reported that a large shaggy dog always accompanied the child. She said he had bounced a ball to get her attention and " he was watched by an older woman who was always near him."

The psychic indicated the spirits don't necessarily look the same age as they were when they died. Some had been employees of the hotel years before they passed on and, in spirit form, looked like they did when they worked there. She said one of the resident spirits was a helicopter pilot who attended basic flight training at Ft. Wolters in the 1960's and was killed in a helicopter crash while at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. For reasons she doesn't understand, he had returned to the Baker
with his body in the same terribly mutilated condition that resulted from the crash.


In October 2000, two Paranormal Investigation teams, "DFW Ghostwatchers" from Dallas and "Lone Star Spirits" from Houston were contacted to perform a full-scale investigation. With over $100,000 of high tech scientific instrumentation, the teams made three separate visits to the building. One of the investigators using a digital camera photographed hundred's of orbs. Orbs, according to many experts, are actual spirits of the dead. Orbs were photographed throughout the building with the largest concentration being in the basement and on the 5th, 7th and 14th floors. She also captured what appeared to be 2 very distinct "ecto mist" apparitions in the 14th floor ball room. Another investigator was taking still shots with a high-end 35mm camera at the same time and captured what appeared to be another ecto mist above the first photographer. An independent psychic who accompanied the team reported "seeing" an old woman in a wheelchair in the southeast corner of the ballroom who kept saying, "I can't do it," "I can't do it".

The 5th floor was usually the most active. The psychic with the group felt uneasy and nauseous as she walked around at the west end of that floor. She felt that someone was trying to make the team "sick" so they would leave and she was too upset to go any farther in that direction. Later that night, other members of the team who visited the area began to choke and cough at the same spot. They had been on a different floor of the building and were totally unaware of the psychic's earlier experience.
           

Even during daylight hours and with a
professional-grade 35mm digital
camera, strange things happen and
strange images, unseen at the
time, are captured.
On the next visit, the psychic visited a room on the north end of the 5th floor and heard a young lady making rustling sounds with her dress. She sensed her  moving back and forth while making sure her makeup was applied perfectly. The spirit would move around the men in the group and seemed to be in a flirtatious mood. The psychic also sensed a man was coming to escort her to a dance in the Sky Room.

A second psychic arrived later, joined up with the group on the fifth floor and reported sensing the same thing as the first psychic. When he ventured to the west end of the floor, he picked up on a feeling of  "disgust and discomfort." He said he felt as if the area was occupied by a large disgusting man who wanted everyone to leave.

A time-lapse video camera was placed in the doorway of the Brazos room on the 1st floor  and during a 4-hour period recorded 151 instances of things moving. The room had been closed off to the investigative teams and entrance was not allowed by anyone "living." Some of the objects could have been simply dust motes reflecting light, but there was no wind that night and nothing in the room happened which would stir up the dust. Some of the objects were clearly orbs mysteriously moving around in the empty, undisturbed room.
           
An audio recorder placed next to the basement elevator captured the distinct sound of a man screaming in agony. A different group recorded the same sound on another investigation in June 2001. It would have been difficult for anyone in the team to mimic the sound since the area had been locked to keep everyone out. One of the expedition members gets nauseous when she gets around haunted places. At the Baker, she wasn't able to stay more than a few minutes before becoming so ill she was forced to leave. With so much activity in the building it may be one of the most haunted places in Texas if not in the country. One psychic claimed to have counted at least 49 different spirits in the building.

Once the playground for cattle barons, oil tycoons, Hollywood celebrities, and military and political leaders, the decaying grand hotel sits slowly wasting away, a remnant of a bygone era. Gone are the starlets, the proud men in uniform, the big bands, the conventions, and others who made the Baker a memorable part of their lives. It seems some never left at all or have returned to forever experience a time when Mineral Wells was one of Texas' finest cities. If you get the chance to visit the beautiful old hotel, please have respect for those who are still there - the Baker's patrons who refused to check out.




 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Angry Man in the Powhatan Courthouse

The old Powhatan Courthouse
The Powhatan, Arkansas courthouse, built in 1885, is a majestic building sitting on a hill overlooking the county it once served. The original courthouse on this site was built in 1873, but it burned to the ground and had to be rebuilt. In a little park next to the courthouse is the original jail. The building now houses a county museum and is part of the Powhatan Historic State Park, but the visitor's brochures don't tell you there is something very strange happening here; something unexplained; something sinister.

After years of whispers and rumors of ghosts being seen, unexplained moans and screams coming from the walls and mysterious lights in the locked building late at night, a well-respected group of paranormal investigators were invited to dispel the stories. What they experienced though was far from what the town's officials had hoped for.

Right after getting set up for the evening, one of the psychics claimed to have encountered the spirit of a young boy playing in a corner of the courtroom. The spirit told her he was sad because he had been murdered and that he stayed at the courthouse because that is where the man who killed him went on trial. He then said he was scared and broke off contact.

Several of the psychics reported unseen hands grabbing them the way a child trying to get an adult's attention would do. They heard muffled noises in almost every room, but when they went into the rooms to investigate, the noises completely stopped and no source could be found.

The most frightening encounter of the night happened in the belfry. One of the female investigators had climbed up the narrow, rickety stairs to see if there was anything up there. She asked out loud, "Is anyone here?" Suddenly she was attacked by an unknown, unseen entity. She began to have trouble breathing and felt as if there was an invisible hand closing around her throat! At the same time this was happening, she felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and heaviness, like a huge amount of grief had been suddenly cast upon her. She managed to run from the belfry and down the stairs to the courtroom where there were other people. As soon as she left the belfry, the feelings started to subside and she could breath again. The next morning, she and others found a bruise on her neck right where the invisible hands seemed to be attempting to choke the life out of her.

Later that night, with a video camera recording, several investigators heard heavy footsteps on one of the staircases. When they arrived at the foot of the stairs, the footsteps stopped. Several minutes went by and they were about to leave when the footsteps began again. As the investigators began climbing the stairs, they suddenly heard the high-pitched scream of a woman! They ran up the stairs to investigate the source of the scream, but after thoroughly searching the upper floor, nothing was found that could have made the heavy footsteps and no one that could have issued the blood-curdling scream.

Nothing else happened the rest of the night, but a follow-up session was planned. The 2nd night of investigation occurred two months later and just like before, there was no lack of paranormal activity. The first spirit that made contact was a black female who said she was going to stay at the courthouse with her brother until he moved on. According to her, he had been a young man who was falsely accused of raping a white woman and an angry mob of men had abducted him by overpowering the jail guard and had hung him from an oak tree. Although none of the psychics were from the area and knew nothing of the detailed history of the courthouse, later investigation into dusty records revealed that a young freed slave by the name of Andrew Springer had worked as a sharecropper after the civil war and had indeed been arrested for rape in an adjoining county and brought to the Powhatan jail for trial by that county's authorities who had been trying to keep him out of the hands of vigilantes. The vigilantes had taken him out and hung him from a nearby oak tree. The oak tree still stands today a few yards from the courthouse. The female spirit who claimed to have been Andrew's sister had died in the jail. Records indicated that after the lynching, she had attempted to kill several of the men who were suspected of being in the lynch mob. She had been arrested and had died of an unknown illness while awaiting trial.

The belfry where Andrew's spirit lives
Two of the psychics decided to investigate the belfry where the female psychic had been physically harmed during the first investigation. Almost immediately upon climbing the stairs the air became extremely dry and there was a high amount of energy that could be felt. It was almost as if a charge from a lightning strike was in the room. Then the temperature went up until both men were dripping with sweat. After a few minutes, the spirit communicated via a knocking sound and by moving metal rods held by the psychics. The spirit claimed to be Andrew and he did not approve of the psychics being in "his house." He admitted it was he who had attacked the female psychic the last time as he especially hated women because it was a woman who had falsely accused him of rape and had thus condemned him to a horrible death by beating and hanging. The Andrew spirit suddenly told them to leave or he would hurt them. One of the men then felt like there were fire ants crawling on him and furiously biting all over his body. Both men were by this time exhausted as they felt the spirit had been sucking their energy. They both were so unnerved by the encounter, more so than any they had ever experienced before, that they decided to beat a hasty retreat immediately. As soon as they had left the room and started down the stairs, everything returned to normal. They all packed up and left the building shortly afterwards.

Is the old Powhatan courthouse haunted? Those who don't believe in spirits hanging around after physical death will say no. Others will be unsure. But for a few psychic investigators who were brave enough to spend several long, dark nights there, the answer is an unequivocal yes.  
 

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Haunted Crypt

Barbados is an island located on the easternmost edge of the West Indies and the site of what some claim to be one of the greatest mysteries of the nineteenth century.

The Chase Crypt
In 1808 the wealthy Chase family acquired a crypt in which to inter their dead relatives. Already eighty years old, the vault was built semi-underground and hewn out of the compacted coral that makes up much of the island’s foundations. Despite its age, the crypt had only housed a single occupant; Thomasina Goddard.
The head of the Chase family, Colonel Thomas Chase, decided not to disturb Goddard and she was not moved to another vault. She was soon saved from her lonely rest when the young Mary-Anne Maria Chase joined her in the vault in a lead-lined coffin. Several more members of the Chase family, including 2 babies and a grandmother known for her saintly conduct during life, were laid to rest in the vault over the next several years. Four years almost to the day after Mary-Anne's funeral, the vault was re-opened to allow her sister Dorcas' entry. The unfortunate Chase family suffered another death when Thomas himself passed away barely a month after Dorcas.
It was upon this reopening of the vault that the legend began. It was found that Dorcas' coffin had moved from its original position so that it now rested against the far wall "standing on end, with its head downward." Blaming vandals or thieves, the funeral party replaced the coffin and six strong men slid the heavy marble slab back over the entrance and left.
From then on, every time the vault was opened to allow the submission of another of the Chase's relatives the vault's contents would be in disarray, all except the two baby's coffins and the grandmother's. This included Thomas Chase's heavy casket which, according to records, took eight men to lift. Four times over the following years the marble slab was muscled aside and the sun's light would illuminate the coffins in morbid disarray.

Finally, the strange activities attracted attention from the island's officials and inhabitants who attended the next Chase internment in great numbers. The governor’s wife was present and writes: "In my husband's presence, every part of the floor was sounded to ascertain that no subterranean passage or entrance was concealed. It was found to be perfectly firm and solid; no crack was even apparent. The walls, when examined, proved to be perfectly secure. No fracture was visible, and the sides, together with the roof and flooring, presented a structure so solid as if formed of entire slabs of stone. The displaced coffins were rearranged in proper order, the new tenant of that dreary abode was deposited, and when the mourners retired with the funeral procession, the floor was covered with fine white sand in the presence of Lord Combermere and the assembled crowd. The door was maneuvered into its closed position and, with the utmost care, the new mortar was laid on so as to secure it. When the masons had completed their task, the Governor made several impressions in the mixture with his own seal and many of those attending added various private marks in the wet mortar.”

Eight months later, rather than waiting for the next Chase to die, the vault was ordered to be opened once again. The Governor and a party of men assembled at the crypt. The cemented seals were found to be intact and no evidence of tampering could be found until, upon reopening the crypt, once again except for the two baby's and grandmother's coffins, the contents were discovered to be in disarray. Some of the heavy coffins were upended and on top of others. Mary-Anna’s had come to rest against the left wall; a small chunk had been chipped off a corner from the violence of its journey. One coffin was found resting on the 4th step, its head pointing upwards toward the crypt's opening. The lid of another coffin had been partially forced open and from that opening projected the shriveled right arm of the corpse it contained. The arm was pointing toward the ceiling of the crypt. Several of the men recognized the coffin as one holding a member of the family who had committed suicide. The floor's sandy coating was undisturbed and no sign of flooding or earthquake was apparent.

Nathan Lucas, another eyewitness, described the event: "...I examined the walls, the arch, and every part of the Vault, and found every part old and similar; and a mason in my presence struck every part of the bottom with his hammer, and all was solid. I confess myself at a loss to account for the movements of these leaden coffins. Thieves certainly had no hand in it and as for any practical wit or hoax, too many were requisite to be trusted with the secret for it to remain unknown; and as for natives having anything to do with it, their superstitious fear of the dead and everything belonging to them precludes any idea of the kind. All I know is that it happened and that I was an eye-witness of the fact."

After this incident church officials decided to move the bodies to other burial sites in the Christ Church Parish cemetery and the Chase vault was left empty. It was once again sealed with the marble slab which was cemented closed. Visitors to the cemetery sometimes report strange sounds which seem to come from the Chase crypt, comparing it to someone moaning or crying, but church officials say it's nothing more than the wind. The crypt has never been opened again and still stands vacant beside the little church in Oistins on the island’s southern coast.
 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Indian Sentinel

As the sun was setting one fine autumn day, a young boy was watching a motionless figure standing on top of the hill at the edge of Tehuacana, Texas. For over a half-hour the boy had been watching that figure staring westward, never moving, still as a statue.

The young boy was John Boyd, son of the founder of the village. The figure he was watching was obviously an Indian as John could see the feathered headdress on his head, but this was 1858 and the Indians had been driven from the area some years ago. He finally decided to climb the small hill to get closer. What danger was one lone Indian when it appeared he didn't have a horse and there were settlers with guns nearby should John call out to them?

Making his voice friendly, young John called out to him, but the Indian didn't move. It was as if he didn't hear him so John walked closer. He was close enough now to see the fine buckskins he wore, the craftsmanship of the stitches and the colorful beads which adorned the shirt. He had fine, long black hair which was braided and a beautiful leather belt with strips of rawhide that moved with the wind. John looked carefully, but he could see no weapon.  "Are you hungry? We can spare some food."

Ever so slowly, the Indian's head turned, as though it took an intense labor of will. The eyes, as dark as a black pit fixed on the boy. No expression crossed the face, only the awareness of another's presence. Jon felt paralyzed, totally incapable of running away from those eyes staring unblinking at him. It was then he noticed a strange glow about the figure, as though the fading sunlight radiated not around him, but through him! Suddenly, John felt very cold and an inner voice said to run, run very fast!

Before he could move though, the Indian was gone. John carefully looked, but there was nothing around him. The figure had vanished into the air.

John Boyd would not be the last to see the hilltop Indian sentinel, the last chief of the Tawakoni tribe, a man who had died in a massacre thirty years earlier. For years afterward, at daybreak and sunset, the chief would appear and stand motionless atop the little hill overlooking the land that had once been home. Whether he was awaiting the return of his people, his son at their head, or he was standing guard in penance has never been determined.

The Tawakoni were allies of the Tejas who lived to the east. They were an industrious and friendly people who protected their lands, and thus the land of the Tejas, from the war-like and more savage plains warriors who roamed the west. The Cherokee were being driven from their own lands by the white man by the 1820's and they needed the game and watering holes of the Tawakoni. The Cherokee came in force, but the Tawakoni fought them to a standstill in a battle where Waco now stands. The enemy invaders retreated and left them in peace...for a while. Thinking they had driven them away, the Tawakoni relaxed and braves posted as guards were not as vigilant. The Cherokee snuck back and in a devastating attack, virtually annihilated all of them. They burned to the ground the bee-hive-shaped dwellings and erased any signs the Tawakoni ever lived there. Only a handful escaped, mostly women and small children, as Tawakoni braves and their chief sacrificed their lives giving the survivors time to grab the chief's son and flee into the brush.

The last stand of the Tawakoni was not recorded in white man's books and may have gone completely unknown except for an Indian scout who worked for General Earl Van Dorn, a grand-nephew of Andrew Jackson. Known only as Tawakoni Jim, he told the troopers his childhood memory of his father's death on that flaming hilltop. As soldiers were transferred to other units, the story was passed around the evening fires from one army camp to another. As stories do, this one made it back to the Tehuacana settlers who were finally sure of what they saw - a father waiting for his son's return.

In the late 1900's, archaeologist found proof of the story. Near Barry Springs on Tehuacana's eastern side, they located the old village. They traced the sunken floors and the central fire basins. They found the lodgepole marks for oval dwellings. They gathered artifacts clearly identified as Tawakoni. Most telling, they found proof of a village which had been razed by fire. Tawakoni Jim's story was true.

Shortly before Jim passed away at the age of 90 in the early 1900's, his minister was able to trace his lineage and authenticate that he was indeed the chieftain-to-be, escaped from his dying village. The return of Jim's people was a lost dream.

When I heard this story, of course I had to drive there and check it out for myself. There's not much to the community of Tehuacana now, a lot of abandoned buildings and broken dreams. When asked, most of the older people I found to talk to just smiled and said they had never heard of the story. One old gentleman dressed in a farmer's dirty overalls and beat-up straw hat looked at me sideways for several seconds, spit some chewing tobacco juice on the ground and said he didn't have time for such nonsense as he turned and walked away.

I found another old man with a deeply-lined, weather-beaten face and snow-white hair sitting on a bench in front of a small store. I sat for a little while, drinking a coke I bought inside. When I asked him if he knew of the story, he admitted he did. He said he was born and raised around Tehuacana and had heard the story from his grandfather. He told me the old Indian still makes an appearance every now and then, always at sunrise or dusk. He claimed to have seen him himself. He said he thinks he is standing guard, doing penance for allowing his people to become lax, to be caught unprepared to defend themselves. But then again, he thinks it's just as likely he's still waiting for his son to return, a father's vigil. "That's just my figuring though cause nobody knows for sure," he said. "You can't read the mind of a ghost." And then he gave me directions to the hill.

It was getting dark as I followed the old man's directions. It's a pleasant place with a few hackberry tree's around a little park at the top, cleared of vegetation, overlooking a vast open countryside. I waited there, alone, hoping to see an old Indian chief appear out of thin air. It didn't happen. Perhaps all these years later he has given up returning. There's no one left to listen to his warning of what happens to a people when they let down their guard. I drove away wondering about things that can't be explained.

At the bottom of the hill, I looked in my rearview mirror. I'm sure what I saw at the very top of the hill was just a tree. Strange, I hadn't noticed it while I was there.
 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Haunted Texas Mission

In far south Texas 5 miles outside the city of Mission and a short distance from the Rio Grande River and the Mexican border is La Lomita Mission. The mission, formerly maintained by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Order of priests and nuns, was established to give a place of holy worship and comfort for the area residents, to "propagate the faith among barbarians" and to carry on humanitarian work. The Oblates, a French Order, built the chapel and a brick residence in 1899 and manned it with 3 priests and a few nuns. The structures were built on a large tract of land which had been deeded to the group by a Frenchman who had recently passed away. Although the site was what today we consider near the city, in those days the distance and unpaved roads proved to far for people to easily travel. Just 3 years later, the mission was moved to a new complex within the city limits.

La Lomita Mission chapel was restored in
1976 as a designated historic building of
South Texas.
According to a story handed down through several generations, there actually was a different reason the mission was moved; a much more sinister reason. This story explains that within a year after the priests and nuns moved in, isolation and human nature got the best of the holy residents. Only the nuns and priests will ever know exactly what went on during those long, dark, not so lonely nights, but remember, this was long before effective birth control. The sudden absence of individual nuns would be explained away by the priests who said they were on a religious retreat. The nun would suddenly reappear several months later, but if asked, would always refuse to talk about her absence. One of the missing nuns who was "on a retreat" was spotted by a Mexican family who came across the river in the back of the chapel. She was working in a small garden and when she saw the family, she ran away to hide in the building. Her belly was obviously large with child. Worshipers who made their way to the chapel began reporting hearing cries of babies in this place where no babies should be.

The prohibited activities couldn't be concealed forever. These people of the cloth, afraid they would be excommunicated if the children were discovered, committed the most hideous, unholy act imaginable. They began burying the children's bodies in the field behind the church.

One day a powerful hurricane hit the area bringing wide-spread flooding and much devastation. The little chapel was heavily damaged. After the waters receded, people living on the area ranches came to help repair the structure. Two families coming across the river made a horrible discovery - the bones of a baby sticking up from a washed out shallow grave. Their cries of horror brought others to the field behind the chapel and soon, more little bones were being found in little graves. The priests and nuns made a quick retreat to their living quarters and locked the door to the structure.

That very afternoon, when word spread to the ranches and through the town, the people were so horrified that they stormed the mission grounds. While the mob was breaking down the doors, one of the priests escaped out of a back window, but the other two padres were captured and beaten to death. The nuns were stripped of their religious habits and forced to cover themselves with rough muslin and potato sacks. They were placed in the back of a flat-bed wagon and taken away. No one seems to know, or at least no one will tell, what happened to the nuns after that, but neither they nor the priest who escaped were ever heard of or seen again.

The mission stood empty for a long time afterwards. Some say the bones of the priests remained laying beside the chapel as a reminder of its horrific past until the animals had eaten and carried them away. Rumors of babies cries and screams of the condemned in the night began to be reported. Soon, nobody dared venture near the site.

Abandoned ruins of the Catholic training center
for novice priests. Residents here were plagued
by cries and strange lights coming from the
nearby chapel.
Eventually, a large 3-story brick building was erected to house a Catholic training center for novice priests a few hundred yards away from the chapel. Tales of strange lights and unexplained noises emanating from the area of the old chapel plagued the center throughout its existence. It was soon abandoned. In 1974, another building was constructed on the property for use as an insane asylum. From the time it was opened, the inmates and staff members repeatedly reported ghostly apparitions and anguished cries coming from the old chapel building. On numerous occasions, uninformed visitors and passerby's reported seeing the translucent figure of a nun either standing in the window of the chapel or floating in mid-air in front of the chapel. Perhaps she was one of the disgraced nuns, the only one whose faith and honor remained true; an innocent daughter of Christ caught up in the mob's outrage that day. The people who have seen her report her head is bowed as if in prayer. Most of the time she is seen by the moonlight of night, but she has also been seen occasionally in broad daylight. If approached, the figure slowly transforms into a shapeless, misty cloud before vanishing altogether.

Finally, the evil vibes of the place became too much to bear and the buildings were permanently closed. The town of Mission has turned a portion of the grounds into a park, but it's a park no one goes to after dark.
 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rose of Sharon

At one time, the old home on Bryson Street in the town of Waxahachie, Texas had been charming and a welcome place to retreat from the daily struggles of life. It had been built in 1895 by F. P. Powell, a moderately well-to-do lawyer. He had recently gotten married and had it built with the idea of raising a family within its well-built walls. As it often happens though, life had other ideas.

His wife had born two beautiful daughters and their beloved home was filled with their happy laughter until 1912 when Powell was offered a great job with a large raise in Austin, Texas. The family hated to leave, but the opportunity was too great to pass up so they sold their dream home and moved away.

Unfortunately, the next owners were not as fastidious in maintaining the house. They only lived there several years before selling it. Once again, the new owners did not take good care of the place and soon they too sold and moved on. Over the next 60 years, a succession of owners moved in and out, always leaving the house in worse shape than when they arrived. At some point, the beautiful wrap-around porches, both upstairs and downstairs, were sealed in to make additional rooms and the house was turned into an apartment building. As it slowly deteriorated, the tenants did too until finally it was nothing more than a flop-house renting rooms by the week to those down on their luck. Eventually, it was abandoned.

It lay in this sad state until the early 1980's when Sharon saw it. Somehow, she could see past the sad, rundown condition it was in to the charming and elegant home it used to be. She had it inspected by a trusted builder friend who assured her the house was basically in sound condition, but it would take a lot of work to bring it back to livable condition and to meet current codes. For some reason she still can't explain, she wanted it.  A few weeks later, she became the newest owner. She began to research what it had looked like when it was new in 1892 and several months later, she had commissioned her builder to begin the restoration.

Just before the workers were scheduled to begin, Sharon was walking around inspecting each room. Without thinking much of it, she sat down her heavy purse on the floor of what used to be the dining room. As she continued on, she came to a room in the very back of the house which had stacks of old newspapers and magazines strewn around the floor. She sat down in the middle of them and began slowly flipping through the pages, fascinated by the fashions and history of days gone by. It began to get dark and she realized she had been there much longer than planned. She made her way back to the room where she left her purse and found it exactly where she had set it down. To her complete surprise though, there was something else sitting about 2 feet from the purse in totally undisturbed dust - a pair of 14 carat gold hoop earrings she had lost over a year earlier. She had loved and treasured those earrings and had searched everywhere for them for months. Eventually she had given up on ever finding them yet here they were in a house she had not even known existed 6 months ago! 

There is one room in the house, a large upstairs room which was once the master bedroom, where Sharon always feels she is not alone when she enters. She say's it's not spooky or scary, but rather warm and comforting. She also says she often catches glimpses of semi-transparent figures around her home - a woman wearing a long dress in the style of the late 1800's who usually appears to be accompanied by 2 little girls. For some reason, the small figures always appear with their backs to Sharon. She also often see's a man wearing a top hat. Sometimes all four of the figures appear together in one room or another. She has spoken to them numerous times, but they have never answered. Sometimes they stand still and the woman and man appear to look at her with serene faces, but then they either turn and walk away or they all slowly disappear as she watches.

On occasion, Sharon hears music, but can't tell exactly where it comes from. It sounds like string instruments, probably violins, playing a waltz. It's always barely heard, like it comes from somewhere far away. She often hears footsteps in the empty hallway and on the wooden stairs. She knows old wood will creak and pop, but the sounds of footsteps are unmistakable. 

In spite of the sightings and noises, Sharon is never afraid. Instead, she takes comfort in the presence of the spirits. She is convinced it is the Powell family and feels they are pleased with the restoration work which has made the house, the house they share, a lovely home once again.
 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Haunted Waxahachie Restaurant

South of Dallas, Texas is the charming little town of Waxahachie and just outside the downtown square is where the Catfish Plantation restaurant is located. It is well known for having perhaps the best Cajun cuisine outside of Louisiana as well as some of the best catfish found anywhere. And one more thing it is famous for - the three ghosts who have claimed it for their permanent residence.

The restaurant is in a house which was built in 1895 and is the birthplace of the great professional baseball player Paul Richards. The owners of the business opened the restaurant in 1984 and it was soon after when they got an inkling there was something not exactly kosher in the house. One morning as they arrived to prepare for business, they found a number of coffee cups neatly stacked inside a large tea urn. They had been the last to leave and had securely locked up the night before, leaving the empty tea urn in its usual place on a counter. They found the urn with the cups inside on the floor. After several weeks with nothing new happening, the incident had just about been forgotten, but then, once again arriving early to begin preparing the food, they found a pot of fresh coffee waiting for them. From that point, unexplained things began to happen almost constantly.

Water glasses sitting on a counter with no one near them would suddenly shatter. Several female employee's reported toilet seats flying up by themselves as they entered. They heard the toilets flush and upon entering the restroom finding nobody in there. Sometimes doors would open as people approached them and close behind them with no help from human hands - not living human hands anyway. On several instances when it was time to open, the front doors would unlock themselves even as a staff member was walking toward the door to do it. And evidently the spirits didn't like their house to be too crowded as often, on very busy evenings, the front door would lock itself as if someone was saying, "OK, that's enough people in here."

Often, the house would have a strong smell of roses even though there were no flowers of any kind present. So many other things happened almost every day that it's hard to list them all; decorative clocks that don't work would chime on the hour even though the hands haven't moved and don't point to the hour, a stereo turning itself on and off and the radio station changing itself, patrons and staff hearing the sound of a piano playing even though there isn't one in the house, strong breezes felt in rooms with no windows, cold spots felt by patrons and staff alike especially in the ladies restroom, knockings on walls, silverware and place mats carefully set the night before would be found in the morning crumpled and jumbled around the tables, dollar bills left by patrons as tips on the table for their waitress sometimes would be seen floating several inches in the air and cups, dishes and pots suddenly flying across the kitchen. One of the cooks abruptly quit when suddenly pieces of cheese and bottles of chives flew around the room. Another cook left when a basket of fries rose up out of the boiling grease, floating in the air beside him.

For a while, the owners tried to keep the mysterious incidents quiet, but eventually the sheer number of weird things that kept happening drove them to seek advice from a professional parapsychologist.
Within a few weeks, the house had been investigated five times by scientists, engineers, psychics and individuals with sound equipment, thermometer gauges, infrared cameras and laser lights. After spending days and nights investigating every corner of the house, they all agreed the place was haunted by 2 female and 1 male spirits.

One of the 2 females was identified as Elizabeth, a young lady who had been strangled to death in the dining room on her wedding day in 1920. She evidently was murdered by a jealous ex-boyfriend. Elizabeth appears to be a helpful sort. The male spirit is harmless and doesn't really do anything except quietly sit by the fireplace and watch the people coming in and out of his home. It is the female named Caroline who is the most active and apparently causes most of the mischief. The investigators agreed she isn't pleased with all the living humans in her home. It seems she doesn't mean any physical harm to anyone, but she does try to frighten people into leaving.

 
After enduring the pranks for a while, the owners, who did not believe in ghosts before, started talking to the spirits and told them they know they live there and are happy to share the place with them. They told them they no longer need to throw things or make noises so they would be recognized. Amazingly, soon afterwards, things began to calm down and they remain fairly calm. Every now and then though, it seems Caroline just can't help herself.

A young couple was eating a celebratory meal in The Catfish Plantation one recent evening. Just a few weeks earlier, they had been blessed with their first child and that night, grandparents were happily baby-sitting. It was the couple's first time going out since the birth - a date night. All of a sudden, they both shouted out in alarm and bolted from the restaurant without finishing their meal. What had startled them so? In the misted-over window they were sitting by, their baby's name had suddenly materialized.
 
 

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Love of Dead Sue

Most folks are skeptical of ghost tales. They may be drawn to them for some reason a skilled observer of human nature would no doubt be happy to explain, but when it comes down to it, most think they are nothing but passed down fanciful legends of overactive imaginations. Young Tom McAlister isn't like most folks. He knows the truth first-hand.

In mid-December 1997, Tom was a handsome 17-year-old high school athlete living with his bank officer dad and his stay-at-home mother in Sweetwater, Texas. He made good grades, he was popular in school and with his outgoing personality and good looks, he usually had his pick of the teenage girls in town. His life was good. Since Thanksgiving though, he had been troubled with a growing concern, something he had kept to himself. He felt as if he was never alone. Whether in his room studying, driving in his car, in bed asleep or even while taking a shower, he felt there was somebody with him, somebody watching.

Tom, like his parents, was a devout Baptist and didn't believe in ghosts, but he just couldn't shake this feeling that an unseen being was always with him. On night while doing homework, he saw the edge of his bed depress as if someone was sitting on it. Feeling alarmed and foolish, he called out, "Hello whoever you are. What's your name?" Then he screamed.

Hearing her son cry out, Tom's mother rushed into his room and immediately saw the heavy dictionary he used laying open on the floor. When she asked him what happened, Tom told her something had picked it up from his desk, floated it across the room to where it now lay and began to turn the pages. When it stopped, one page was folded to point to a single word. Sue. 

Nothing else happened that night, but Sue made her presence known over the next several weeks. Driving home from a friend's Christmas party, the car's ashtray flew open and several peppermint candies Tom had placed in there after eating at Sonic were tossed out onto the floor. When school resumed after the Christmas break, not once but twice his car's glove compartment flew open and the owner's manual and insurance papers flew out. Tom tried to dismiss these things as merely bumps in the road, bumps he had not noticed, but the next night, the ceiling fan in his room clicked off and the door slowly closed. Two nights later, the fan clicked off and the door closed again. The next night, suspecting an electrical short, he left the fan off - it clicked on and the door once again closed with the aid of unseen hands. Without thinking, he blurted out, "I'm tired of this nonsense! Go away and leave me alone!" In the next instant, the wooden birdhouse he had made by hand, his proudest handiwork, was thrown across the room to smash into pieces against the far wall.

The next night, as Tom was coming to bed, he saw an indention in his mattress, as if something lay there, full length - a clear body indentation. He couldn't force himself to touch it. He knew Sue was waiting for him to lay down with her. He went to the living room and slept on the couch.

The next morning, Tom took his usual hot shower, but when he emerged, written on the steam-covered mirror in antique script, were the words, "I love you." Over the next few days, messages kept appearing in Tom's bathroom mirror. He began taking colder showers so there would be no steam, but when he opened the shower curtain, the messages would be written in the same antique script with the bar of soap kept next to the sink. "I love you." "Do not fear me. I love you." "I will always be with you."

His parents had no answers and in desperation, hired a medium to come to their home. The medium said it was very simple actually - a young female spirit inhabited their house and she was in love with Tom. The family next sought counsel from their minister who insisted Tom be examined by a mental health professional. After  examination by several psychiatrists who pronounced Tom sane, an exorcism was advised.

The minister and 2 assistants came to the McAlister home on a Thursday evening in late March. His exorcism, or blessing , as he called it, followed a direct plan. He told the family that he would be the psychic relay through which they could communicate with the spirit. While in a kind of semi-trance, the minister said Sue told him she was 20 years old and thinks the year is 1796. Tom told Sue that he couldn't handle this anymore; he was sorry, but he didn't love her and she had to go and leave him and his family in peace.  Through the minister, still in a trance, Sue replied that she understood. She had meant no harm and would leave, but she hoped Tom would never forget her. And with that, Tom had a feeling from Sue of great sadness and then felt her leave.

That was almost 20 years ago and she has not returned. Tom is now married with two children and living in a suburb of Ft. Worth. He said at first he thought she was of the Devil, but now he doesn't think so. "I have no idea why she came to me. Maybe I just reminded her of someone she once knew, someone she once loved dearly."

Will she return some day? Nobody knows. Where did she go? Nobody alive knows.
 

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Possession of Amy

Amy was a good kid, a 17-year-old teenager any parent would be proud of. Growing up in a small East Texas town, she made straight A's in school, played flute in the band, was well-liked by her teachers who all said she was a quiet, hard-working student who had never been any trouble at all. She faithfully attended the little country Baptist church with her parents and younger brother every Sunday. She wore her dark brown hair long and favored loose clothing over the tight jeans and low-cut blouses some of the other kids wore. She had complete faith in God. It was very disturbing to her mom and dad when late one Friday night in the early spring of 2006, while in her upstairs bedroom, Amy began screaming, "It's inside me! I can feel it! Make it stop! Please, make it stop!

Her parents rushed into her room and found Amy sitting up in her bed, her hands tightly clenched into fists which she held up to either side of her face while her eyes were wide open, unblinking and staring out in terror. As her mother, Sara, ran to her side, her father, John, frantically searched the room looking for an intruder. Within seconds, Amy began to calm down, to relax. A few minutes later, she quickly went back to sleep. It must have just been a nightmare, a very bad nightmare.

Two days later, during the Sunday evening services at church, Amy was sitting in the pew listening to the sermon when she suddenly became violently sick. She ran to the ladies room barely making it to the toilet before vomiting. Sara came in after her daughter, but could do nothing other than hold Amy's long hair out of the way and apply cool wet paper towels to the back of her neck. Eventually, the dry heaves arrived and Amy felt like she was throwing up her insides. When they eventually subsided and Amy could stand, her parents rushed her to the hospital emergency room. She was diagnosed with food poisoning and sent home with medicine, told to drink plenty of fluids and to rest for several days.

By Wednesday, her symptoms had subsided so Amy returned to school. For two weeks, everything was normal, but then Friday afternoon, Sara received an emergency phone call from the school nurse telling her Amy had been taken to the hospital and she and her husband needed to go there as quickly as possible. Arriving at the hospital and being ushered to the treatment room where doctors were working on Amy, Sara later said, "My first thought was that she had been shot because there was blood everywhere. Her hair was matted with blood and her face was horribly swollen. I could just barely recognize my own daughter." Sara was so distraught she had to be given a shot to calm her. When a doctor was finally able to come see them, he explained that Amy had several large contusions to her head and face. All the blood and swelling made it look worse than it actually was, but she would need to stay overnight for observation. Then the police came.

The police report indicated that a number of students saw Amy's "accident." According to them, Amy was walking to her next class when she suddenly stopped, turned and began repeatedly smashing her head and face into a row of metal lockers. She was hitting them so hard that blood began to fly everywhere even as several of the boys tried to hold her back. They said the was growling like a wild animal and was so strong they couldn't keep ahold of her and every time she broke away, she immediately began smashing into the lockers again. It finally took 3 male teachers and the female school resource officer to finally drag her away and into the nurse's office. As soon as they laid her down on a cot, she stopped struggling and seemed to fall into a deep sleep. Sara sat in silence as the policeman told her what had happened. She could not understand why her once normal, happy child would harm herself.

Several hours later, Amy woke up and asked her mom where she was. When Sara told her what had happened, Amy replied, "No, that's not what happened!" She told her she was walking down the hall when she was grabbed from behind and pushed into the lockers. She said she tried to put her arms out in front of herself to stop, but whoever had pushed her was too strong. This was in total contrast to what dozens of witness's described seeing.

One thing gave credence to Amy's version. As the medical staff was examining her, they found something very strange. Beginning at her shoulders and down both sides of her back were three, long, bloody lines that looked exactly like claw marks; marks that nobody could explain.

After bringing her daughter home, Sara tried the only thing she knew to do - she prayed. Over the next several weeks, their pastor made visits to their home to lead the prayers, but things kept getting worse. Eventually, Amy was expelled from school for acting up. She would stand in the middle of the class and curse the teacher. She began refusing to bathe and never washed her hair. She began to spit on and curse at other students. One day in the middle of a class, the teacher was standing at the front of the classroom lecturing when Amy got up from her seat, walked to the teacher's side, raised her skirt, lowered her panties, squatted down and began to urinate while laughing in a strange voice. She was expelled for the remainder of the school year.

Sara picked up her daughter at school and brought her home. She called the preacher and he agreed to come over that night to help confront Amy and try to find out why she was acting in such a manner. When he arrived that evening, Sara, John, Jim (Amy's 15 year-old brother) and the preacher went upstairs to Amy's bedroom. At first, they didn't see her, but then they noticed her bare feet sticking out from under a desk. When they looked, they saw she was sitting in a ball with her knees tucked against her chest. She was naked and there were bleeding cuts all over her body. Looking closer, they saw she was holding a bloody screwdriver in her right hand and the cuts on her body were actually carvings. They carvings read "Baal."

The preacher whispered, "God protect us" and told everyone that Baal is a high-ranking Christian demon, the right-hand of Satan. He is purported to be in command of 66 legions of lesser demons and is one of the most powerful demons in Christianity. He carries the ashes of hell in his pockets.

As everyone looked at Amy, she slowly raised her head and began to smile. But then her green eyes turned coal black and her smile became a menacing snarl. Before anyone could react, she jumped out from under the desk and with the bloody screwdriver in hand, she ran straight at her brother Jim. Screaming, she drove the screwdriver down toward his face, but at the last split second, Jim moved his head to the side and the tool only grazed his face before burying itself in his shoulder. Amy jumped up on Jim, wrapping her legs around his waist, pulled the screwdriver from his shoulder and tried to stab his face again, but her father grabbed her arms from behind. The preacher tried to pull Amy off her brother, but she managed to get her hand free and slashed him on the side of his neck. When her mother jumped into the fray, she stabbed her in the right arm. After a few seconds, John let go of Amy long enough to grab a pillow, remove it from the pillow case and pulled the case over her head. Within a few seconds, Amy seemed to go unconscious and the men were able to lay her on the bed. The attack had not lasted more than a minute, but it seemed like an eternity to the people in the room who stared at each other in stunned disbelief.

Fortunately, everybody's wounds were minor. Even Jim, who had received the most grievous and painful wound only required three stitches as the screwdriver had not hit anything serious. For the next two days, Amy lay unconscious, but occasionally she would half-way open her eyes and look around the room before falling back asleep. After much discussion and prayer, Amy's parents and their preacher decided Amy was possessed and they needed to conduct an exorcism. They decided it would be safer to perform it inside their little church and they hurriedly transported her there while she was still asleep. When they arrived, two church elders met them and they carried Amy inside, placing her gently on the floor in front of the alter. The five adults then held hands in a circle around her and began to pray out loud.

In the name of Jesus!
I command you to leave this girls body!
I cast you out in the name of Jesus!
Out! Out! Out! Out!

Amy began to move as if she were in pain. Her eyes remained closed, but she began to whimper.

I cast you out in the name of Jesus!
I cast you out in the name of Jesus!
Out! Out! Out! Out!

At his point, Amy began to move her head back and forth and started to foam at the mouth. She spit green, stinking bile at the preacher as he continued to chant. She screamed and arched her back so severely the adults thought she was about to break her spine. Then, in a course, hideous, deep voice, she began to laugh hysterically and Baal spoke:

Your God has no power over me!
I cannot be commanded. I am Baal!

The preacher continued to chant, louder and louder:

I cast you out in the name of Jesus!
I cast you out in the name of Jesus!

Suddenly, Amy screamed and her arms shot straight out from her body; her eyes rolled back into her head; she began to convulse and speak in tongues. The preacher continued to chant. Without warning, those demonic black eyes returned and stared straight at the preacher, Amy's face contorted into a horrific mask and she again spit foul bile at the pastor.

And then it was over. A sharp, whooshing sound was heard and then the breaking of glass. Amy's eyes began to close, but before they shut, the blackness faded and the normal green color returned. She stopped moving and appeared to be in a deep slumber. Her parents took her home and Amy slept peacefully through the night. The next morning, she awoke, smiling, hungry and acting like her old self. When asked, she did not remember a thing that had happened to her.

To this day, Amy doesn't really remember anything about those several months. Her parents told her, but she has a hard time accepting that a demon had taken over her body and mind. She returned to school, graduated from college and is now a high school teacher. She is engaged to be married to a preacher and she is grateful to God for saving her from the demon.

The only evidence Baal left behind was a ruined stained-glass window he had broken as he fled Amy's body and the church. When Amy's parents carried her to the car that night, they looked up at the shattered window. Then, there on the ground, every piece of glass, every shard, had been stacked in neat little piles all in a row. Stacked by an invisible, banished demon on his way back to Hell.