It was an eerie September night when Don pulled the yellow Buick Skylark into the ballpark. He turned the car around to focus the headlights back the way we came. Petrolia’s softball field had the odd pleasure of sharing the road with the small community’s cemetery. Thus, to get to the ball field, one had to drive through a portion of the graveyard. A twenty-foot narrow dirt road through a thick copse of fir trees was all that connect the two. We had no interest in the ballpark; our night’s ambition was the home of the dead.
We were teenagers captivated by the tales of horror and macabre. This night we chose to find the warrior that plagued the yard with nightly walks. When we arrived, we were jovial, all four of us. We had no encounters previous; this was indeed our first “ghost hunt”. After, we responded to every local haunting tale, in the hopes of spying a ghost. Well, we saw plenty, but that is not for tonight’s story. With the car idling, we got out, I remember Jeff popping the trunk and hand out a can of Rolling Rock beer to each of us.
To this day, I cannot remember what we were speaking of as we all climbed onto the hood of the Skylark, but the conversation held no importance, or relevance. What I do recall, was the skeptic of us, Jeff, sitting up suddenly from his perch on the windshield. I remember the look on his face; it was one of utter terror. Now, one must understand Jeff, he was the fighter, the brave one, the “body guard” if you will of our group. He took no shit from anyone and he would rather fight than talk. Therefore, to see such sheer fear in his eyes left me awestruck.
“Fuck Mike,” he stuttered, lifting his hand holding his beer, which was shaking. His fright was now beginning to wear on me. I followed his pointing finger, looking at the constricted gap between the grounds. I saw nothing. “Did you fucking see that?”
“See what?” Randy asked from the back of the car.
“I saw the thing,” Jeff informed us.
“Nah,” Don chimed in. “I didn’t see anything.”
“Then you weren’t looking,” Jeff was getting angry. I never saw him like this, I believed him and since he spoke, I did not take my eyes off that little plot of road.
Full beer cans hitting the dirt caused us to focus our attention to the side of the car. Randy bringing the case of Rolling Rock to the front, dropped it by the front passenger door. Frozen in place, his arms and hands still in position as if carrying case of illegally gotten beverages, his eyes locked in a death gaze with the unseen. Finally, he slowly began to move backwards.
“Shit,” whispered Don. I began to turn my gaze back to the front. Jeff also slid off the hood of the car and started to move slowly back, kicking cans of beer out of under foot. The pugilist’s fear now overwhelmed me. I did not want to look forward, I felt as if some one were watching me, staring at me. No not at me, down into my very soul, tearing at it, as if it wanted to claim it. As Jeff reached the passenger door, he tossed his can of beer toward the pass.
My eyes followed the can, only to see it pass through a translucent figure. The can bounced harmlessly to the ground, the being completely ignored the transgression. It floated from the firs, moving to the center of the pass, not looking away from us as it did. I did not notice when Don slid off the hood, nor did I notice him open the driver’s door, but I did hear the telltale sign of the pump action shotgun.
“Put it away Randy,” Jeff said as he opened the front right door. “Just put it away and get in the fucking car.”
“Do what Jeff says,” I spoke as I slid from the front of the car after Don, who now was sliding behind the steering wheel.
“Hell no,” Randy replied.
“Randy,” I walked backward, not turning my gaze from the apparition. “What fucking good is it going to do? It’s dead already.” I quickly glanced back across the car; Randy was lifting the weapon, “Randy no!”
Suddenly the phantom lifted his arms and the Buick’s engine silenced. I heard shit repeated by Don several times, as he closed the door. Jeff was now sitting in the passenger seat next to Don. I watched the drivers hand shake violently as he grabbed the keys and tried to restart the car. “Don’t flood it,” Jeff warned.
I slid into the back seat behind Donald, my eyes still attentive to the actions of the specter. He only stood in the middle of the connecting road. He stood there taunting us, for it knew as I, there was only one path from the park, one road for this vehicle to take, and it was standing on it. We had to drive through it, or spend the night here at its mercy. The later was a thought I did not relish, so I prayed that the car would start.
In an answer, it did, the engine roar to life, as we did also. Well we cried out instead of roaring. All the same, we had a new vigor, as if the car was a weapon itself. We sat there, all of us knew what we had to do, but we lacked the courage. Therefore, revving the engine was an action similar to that as pumping up our nerve, like a bull stomping its foot and snorting before a charge. Then as if reading our minds the ghost step aside as would a bullfighter, giving us room to drive through. Don did not hesitate, he saw the opening, and he went.
I watched as we approached, it held something, like a sword or staff. The being was so translucent and the cars headlights were not efficient enough to determine anything distinguishing. All I know was as we passed, it thrust its weapon into the side of the car. I watched it as we went by, its eyes appeared red, but my frighten imagination may have been just filling in the blank spots in the apparitions face. What I do remember was the haunting coldness and numbness that befell me when the creature’s weapon passed through my body. My body succumbed to paralysis; my heart felt as if it skipped a beat or two. I could not breath, I felt light head, I felt as if I was dying, drowning. It had the same effect on Don, and obviously the car.
The car drifted off the road, Jeff reached across and grabbed the wheel attempting to place the car on the correct path. The engine again quit, the car lurched to a stop inches from a tombstone. Jeff let out a sigh and looked at Don.
“It’s comin’” Randy yelled lifting the shotgun, I could not see him do so, but I heard him fumbling with it.
“Cool it,” Jeff yelled at him as he tried to turn over the car, but Don’s foot still depressed the gas. Therefore, to avoid flooding, he stopped.
“I’m okay,” Don finally uttered as the frightening effect wore off the both of us. He calmly placed his hand on the key as I turned my attention behind us.
Randy was right, it was coming; it was drifting towards us quickly. Randy was screaming, shaking Jeff’s seat. Jeff was looking at Don, then back, then Don, all the while saying repeatedly, “Start the car Don.”
Again, our prayers answered, for as soon as the ghastly creature reached the Buick, it started. Dirt flung from the rear wheels, passing through the ghost, though this time seeming to anger it. It darted off deeper into the graveyard. We felt safe, but it was not long until we realized that the road circled through the cemetery before it exited it. He was moving to cut us off. Don floored the gas pedal and the car spun dangerously on the dirt road.
We nearly made it, but the spirit flung out in front of us. Don swerved the car, I hit into the window, but he did not miss. The ghost went through the middle, reaching out touching each of us. Again, my eyes rolled, my body shook involuntarily. The numbing cold crawled through my blood and nerves and spread through out my body, this time affecting my soul. I was helpless, I was scared, and I was dying. I did not know where the ghost went, the car stalled yet again. I knew it was there, but I was frozen, we all were.
Feeling so helpless was the most horrifying experience that I have ever had. I could barely breath, could not see. I sensed it, I knew it was coming; it was there, behind me, by the trunk of the car. I could not turn to view it, but I knew, I just knew. I remember praying, I remember saying my apologies to everyone. My mother, my father, my brothers, my girlfriend, I thought of them all. My life with them ran through my mind like a film. I actually began to cry and when the tears streamed down my cheek, I realized the effect had run its course again.
The car started, we fled, and we never looked back. We drove through town and stopped in a church parking lot. We did not speak of what had happened, we all just cried. Then we breathed, wiped the tears from our eyes and lit cigarettes. We have explored other haunts since, like I mentioned earlier, but after that night, our sensitivity to the ghosts or spirits was increased. Was this a gift or was it a curse? To this day, I still question this.
This is a true tale, take from it what you will, for I still “Ghost Hunt” when the chance is offered or arises, and have been doing so for twenty-two years. The effects of that night still have not “worn off” and I some how know when I am not alone. Moreover, trust me; we are not as alone as often as we truly think.