As I mentioned yesterday (Wednesday), I am not much for a spooky story. I find that they disturb me. I won't watch scary movies or read scary books so when the gals wanted to gather under the Tulip Tree here for Fright Week, I wasn't sure if I have anything to share. I was fretting about this a bit last week when Jean suggested that I tell about what happened in the backyard to Oldest Friend. Then I thought about another similar story that I had heard from my home town of Tuscumbia and this blog was born.
This story is from the War of Northern Aggression. I grew up near Tuscumbia, Alabama, a town on the Tennessee River. In fact, it is at the one end of the Shoals while Decatur is at the other, with the two connected by a railroad. Just as the plantation owners once used the rails to move cotton and freight around the Shoals, so then the the Armies used the rails to move men. It was down the rails from Decatur that the Confederates moved toward Shiloh. The Battle of Shiloh was one of the bloodiest of the Conflict so I guess it stands to reason that many of the soldiers who marched through Tuscumbia never marched again. This story is told by a local historian in Tuscumbia about the Old Memphis Highway where his house is located. He says that often on foggy nights when you can't see the road from his house, that you can hear men marching. Now this is creepy enough but though you can hear horse bits and canteens jingling, you never hear any voices. It's as if the soldiers are still marching but never get to speak or go home. It just breaks my heart for them!
As was mentioned on Monday, Jean lives in a historic neighborhood. Most of the homes there replace the antebellum ones that burned during the Southern War for Independence. This conflict is the source of the haunt in the backyard story. Many soldiers passed through Decatur. It was a major railroad hub and on the Tennessee River just before the infamous Shoals. There were two Battles of Decatur. One of my own ancestors was captured on December 22 during one of those battles, but I digress.
After spending an evening enjoying the fellowship of friends at Jean's, Oldest Friend headed out to her car in the alley to depart for home. Now Oldest Friend is very much a pragmatic sort of gal. She isn't as high strung as Jean and I are. She is all about "the facts and just the facts." So imagine her surprise when after she gets in the car then glances into the rear view mirror ( not expecting to see anything) only to see a Civil War reenactor sitting in her back seat. Imagine her greater surprise when she realizes, "Hey, I can see through him. Maybe he isn't a reenactor but a ghost!" Oldest Friend hopped out of the car to go back inside but when she got out and looked back, the man was gone. Being her practical self, she got into the car and drove home. She did tell Jean and some other folks about it later. It turns out that the people who live in the house at the end of the alley see the soldier a good bit in their house. The theory is that the soldier lived in that house and is trying to get home but can't. Scary stuff! For a long time I wouldn't park in the alley. I love a man in uniform but not one I can see through.
Do you find hearing about the paranormal fun and exciting or unsettling and disturbing?