One cold night when the moon was dark, three men sat drinking in a shack by the side of a local lane. The shack was hard to see because it was down in a gulch, but it was right beside the road. They were drunks and the whole town knew it. The neighbors had learned to ignore the laughter, shouting, hoots and howls that emanated from the place in the wee hours. Whose home the shack was is hard to say. All sorts of riffraff hung out there. Drivers had to be careful at the dip in the road by the shack's gulch. Often drunks were stumbling about in the road. There seemed to be one snaggletooth, shaggy-bearded old man there the most. I later found out he wasn't so old - only in his forties - at his demise, and in that demise lies a tale - a continuing tale of blood and horror.
I had grown up not too far from this lane, so I knew about the shack. My parents admonished me not to ride my bike by the place - ever! I didn't, but the truth is, this place was part of my childhood landscape.
On that cold night, the neighbors had called the sheriff's office - again. The revelers at the shack were fighting and there were some awful and chilling sounds. By the time the sheriff's department arrived, all had fallen quiet, deathly quiet.
The first deputy on the porch slipped and fell down on the slick planks. He put his hand on the porch floor to rise and noticed it was covered with a thick, sticky, slick substance. He shined his flashlight on his hand. It was black blood.
I remember the stories, some from one of the deputies actually there, of what happened next. The two deputies yelled for the inhabitants to come out. This was the standard procedure for the shack and its inhabitants. No one wanted to get too close to the drunks. Sometimes they were combative and sometimes they had weapons. On this night there was no reply, but after calling again they heard a gurgling sound, accompanied by a moan. The deputies radioed for back-up and proceeded. They carefully made their way to the front door, covering each other. From the open, dark door exuded the stale odor of old booze and a sickly sweet, salty smell that reminded one of the deputies of the way it smells when fish bed or the smell of a hog slaughter.
The first deputy on the porch slipped and fell down on the slick planks. He put his hand on the porch floor to rise and noticed it was covered with a thick, sticky, slick substance. He shined his flashlight on his hand. It was black blood. He shined the flashlight into the shack and what he saw changed him. All the guys at the department said he was never the same again.
Other units arrived and more lights probed the darkness of the shack. The shabby and broken furniture glistened darkly with blood. Three figures lay sprawled about the interior, including the snaggletooth, shaggy bearded man. It was uncertain whose moan they had heard because all three were now dead. Their throats were all gashed and raggedly slashed by broken bottles. One had the neck of a broken liquor bottle sticking from the side of his throat. Another was nearly decapitated. Several of the deputies and other officials became ill at the sight and the smell.
The final report of the incident stated that apparently the three men had gotten into a brawl, possibly over an old hag of a woman that frequented the shack to drink and do whatever, and killed each other. That was based on rumor. The presumption was the last one left standing succumbed to his massive wounds after the others had, with that final moan. It was altogether possible that someone else might have killed them and fled. There never was any evidence to support that. The woman was not to be found for questioning and was never seen again.
The authorities boarded the old shack up. I remember finally riding my bicycle by the shack and looking at this place of horror with morbid fascination. Within a year, it mysteriously burned to ashes one dark, cold night.
But, that was not the end.
As is so often with horrible events, the very virulence of the evil embeds itself onto, or into, the surroundings. That is the way of evil: it taints a place and salts the soil so nothing good comes of it, then it advertises.
Immediately, even before the house burned down, the sheriffs department startled to get calls from the same area neighbors saying there were sounds coming from the boarded up shack. The neighbors seemed to think that ghoulish teenagers were breaking into the place and partying there. There were rumors of satanic worshippers using the place. Some of the neighbors reported feeling uneasy about the shack, even more so than when its occupants tread the soil as mortals.
It wasn't until after it had burned that people started seeing the lights. Neighbors could see them from the distance, always described as swinging oil lanterns. It just so happened that the shack never did have electricity and that oil lamps were used for lighting. Those driving past the site in cars saw lights down in the gulch by the road.
Then there are the dark figures in the road.
Many people have run through the dark shadows. One had seen four shadows: three men and one woman. He said that he had stopped and watched them "glide about." He noticed that they had eyes - malevolent eyes - and they were staring at him.
Traveling on this lane from north to south, one climbs a slight hill, but once cresting the hill there is a short gradual slope, then a sharp dip in the road. The shack sat aside the west side of the road, somewhere between the crest and the dip. All that area has changed now and it is hard for me to remember the shack's exact location, but those who have lived there seem to know.
"Yep, I saw them bunches of times," says one man who used to live within sight of the spot. "I also knows a whole bunch of folks that has seen them, too! First thing I ever noted that was wrong was that you'd see lights moving through all that scrub brush growing down in that hole by the veterinarian's driveway, across from the old factory. It looked like someone was walking all through that thick brush with some kind of light on a handle like a railroad conductor uses. The light swung as they walked. Yeah, and I seen them in the road, too: them dark figures. There's more than one. I come up over the hill one night and I come down in the dip and there was two black shadows - that's what they looked like, shadows - standing out in the road right smack dab in front of me! I ran right through them, and as I did so I felt this horrible cold feeling go all over me, like goose bumps! There weren't no noise, no thump and no dents and scratches on my car. It was like I run through smoke. And, that happened several times whilst I lived out there in the '70s and '80s. I got kind of used to it, if such a thing be possible."
I've heard this tale, or ones very similar to it, from several people now. Most have not seen the lights, but many people have run through the dark shadows. One I spoke with told me that he had seen four shadows one night: three men and one woman. He said that he had stopped and watched them "glide about," and that after he had watched them for a minute or so, he suddenly noticed that they had eyes - malevolent eyes - and they were staring at him. He says he backed up the road to keep from driving through them and that his transmission on his truck went out later that night. He knows that was connected to the dark figures.
I heard a story of the dark shapes as recently as last week. A person was introduced to me, because I am a willing listener to such stories and have achieved the dubious reputation as somewhat of a local authority on such matters. This family man lives in one of the new subdivisions to the area. He is a no-nonsense sort of guy, a level-headed businessman and pillar of his community and church. He confesses that he has driven through the dark shadows three times over the last two years, and it really shakes him up. He started making discreet inquires as to what the phenomena may be, and found his way to me. I was able to supply him with a possible answer. I think he believes it, too!
"You know," he told me, "A couple of times at night when I was sitting in my backyard, I have heard a horrible sound of animals fighting from that direction. It's odd because the sound fluctuates like it is riding on the wind, first soft then very loud. Oh, and it's an awful sound, too! It's not the sound of cats or dogs fighting; it's far worse and terrible. It is the sound of very vicious animals snarling and gurgling, fighting to the death."
I guess they still brawl.
I confess that I have driven that road day and night all my life and I have never seen anything, but I assure you, there are plenty that have - and still do! - Frank F. Baugh