Halloween means more to me than just planning a costume or buying trick or treat candy. It was the day, or rather the evening, when I met my future husband. I was eighteen years old and excited to be going to a Halloween party at the Sandpiper club in Warner Robins, Georgia; the hot spot in town. And even though the legal age to get in was twenty-one, the officer there always turned his head to let us in as he knew we didn’t drink, and I didn’t. I just wanted to dance and all the well known bands played there. This was early seventies, so the club was all hippie decor with black light and posters, looking awesome at nighttime; I bet it looked trashy during the day, but it was the place to be.
I went dressed as a princess, re-using one of my saved prom dresses; bought a crown and crafted a wand – what fairy princess didn’t have a magic wand. I danced all night! Steve came dressed as …. well he had his Air Force green fatigues on. That was about as dressed up as he was going to get, but it seemed to be alright with me. I remember falling into his arms that night and never leaving, it was as if we fell for each other at first sight. And from that night, we were together always. It was a short romance, because Uncle Sam had other plans for us. After only spending two short months together, he was transferred to Loring AFB in Limestone, Maine. It was then nightly phone calls and lots of letters during the next five months; we were married on May 5, 1971. I was soon transplanted from Georgia and replanted in Connecticut. – a place that might have well been across the ocean to me. It seemed like such a far and distant place to a Southern girl – and so different in culture and foods! But again, Uncle Sam had called that shot again, as before we married, Steve was given orders to report to Thailand – even farther away. I was left in Connecticut!
As long as it’s Halloween, I think I’ll ramble a bit about more about me chasing ghosts, as they have always intrigued me. Maybe it was my mother who gave me the the interest as she was the first one to introduce me to ghosts through her stories. All the neighborhood kids loved to gather at my house on Friday nights when it was dark. Mama would bring out quilts for everyone and she would sit on the stoop at 1321 Smoak Avenue and tell us ghostly tales. Most often, by the time she called it quits, everyone was too scared to walk home, so we often walked everyone home with flashlights.
Besides my interest and beliefs in ghosts, I remember partaking in the Ouija board with my girlfriends on several occasions. Who hasn’t participated in a seance or laid their fingers on a Ouiji board at one time or another. I don’t even remember what we asked of it – but probably it was about our boyfriends at the time.
Anytime I heard about, what was a haunted house, well it wasn’t long before I was lured in. I remember an older farmhouse somewhere outside of Perry, down one of those back dirt roads. I went out there one night with friends to walk through – late at night. We didn’t find any ghosts, but the boys ended up locking us girls in one of the rooms upstairs. Once we got out, we ran pretty fast down the front steps and I’m sure we gave them grief for doing that to us.
The most famous ghost story in Perry was of a place called “Whistler’s Road.” It was just outside of town on another one of those back dirt roads. I can’t remember exactly where it was now, but it was a series of turning on one road, then another, and finally another. It wasn’t somewhere you went unless you knew how to get back out – or you’d be lost until sunrise the next morning.
The story went that you’d hear “him” whistling in the dark of night, and if you lingered too long, then you might next hear him tapping his fingers on your car. I never did hear the whistling, although I always hoped to. But one night while parking, I was pretty scared when someone tapped on our car and then a hand touched my neck through the slight open window. Of course, it was soon followed by laughter – as it had been planned by the boy I was with. I think that was the last time I went parking on Whistler’s Road.
My mom always told ghost tales of strange happenings at her grandparents home on Slip Rock Road in Siloam, Georgia; she never spent the night there. Often while sitting at the kitchen table, the window shade would suddenly, for no reason, just roll up fast all the way to the top. And if it wasn’t the shade making you jump, then the thumb-bolt on the kitchen door would just click and open – causing the door to slowly creak open. I think those things would cause me as a young girl to run all the way home too – and very fast.
From a previous 2014 52 Weeks, 52 Stories post, I wrote of more ghost stories that were written about that house. One of the sons, Earle McKinley, had been interviewed by the Macon newspaper. See story: Week 14 – 52 Ancestor 52 Week Blog: Siloam Hauntings on the McKinley farm
In high school I remember writing a paper on “White Witches” which caused my teacher to really question my beliefs of their actual existence. I stood strong in my belief of white witches and told her that I was a white witch – but I only did good deeds. I’m sure it raised some eyebrows, and if it was today – well surely my parents would be called in to question my sanity. What I wouldn’t give to have that paper today and actually see what comments my teacher scribbled in the margins.
Ghost hunting showed up again for me in Dahlonega, Georgia after visiting Cane Creek Church. My photos showed ghostly images that intrigued the local newspaper and they featured my story. You can read it here: Week 30: 52 Ancestor 52 Week Blog: A Family Search, an Old Church and Ghost
Another ghostly experience I had from visiting Dahlonega was after buying a book called Dahlonega Haunts. I had a strange occurrence later that night as I began reading the story on Lizzie Gooch; she connects to my family line. I met the author when I bought the book earlier in the day and we talked about the local cemeteries. She mentioned Lizzie Gooch to me after I told her the surnames that I was related to in the area. She was promoting her book in Dahlonega in celebration of the Halloween season.
While we were in Georgia, my daughter was spending the night at Lizzie Borden’s house in Salem, Massachusetts. Later that evening as I began reading the story on Lizzie Gooch, the lights on my cellphone began lighting up – for no reason! And when I closed the book, the lights went off. My son took the book and my phone to see if it gave him the same actions, but it only seemed to work for me. What was Lizzie trying to tell me?
I just visited Cane Creek Church and cemetery earlier this month and stopped to say hello to Lizzie. In the back of my mind, I was hoping for another sign – but nothing happened.