February 28, 2012

Local Haunting...

One of the things that has fascinated me for my entire life is ghost stories. I am always on the prowl for local tales that are said to be true. I think I may have stumbled upon one… There was an oral tradition of this story passed along for generations until someone wrote it down several decades ago. I just finished reading that account….

Out on Fischer road in Newnan, Georgia there was once a plantation.

One of the slaves on the plantation was rumored to have had enough of the overbearing owner and rose against him one morning. Fearing for his life, he decided to take the quiet approach in unleashing his vengeance upon the hateful man and set about forming his machinations during the night when everyone was sleeping. He didn’t want anyone that worked the house to be involved, so he would climb an oak tree near the kitchen house as he watched. His job didn’t begin until an hour after daybreak, so he spent several days learning the morning routine. He had heard the people working in the kitchen talking about how the owner took his breakfast each day alone, being strict in his observance of silence within the household during this time, so he could go over the day’s plans with no interruptions.

On a foggy Tuesday morning he decided to make his move. When the servers had cleared the dishes from the table and the plantation owner took out his ledgers he knew he had about twenty minutes before anyone else entered the room. He slipped from the tree, stole across the dying grass and, by the light of a late autumn moon, silently raised the window he had been staring through for the past several mornings. Hearing the movement or feeling the air coming in, the owner spun around to see the man stepping in, he began to stand up and shout in anger, but his voice was cut short by the slave’s mad dash toward him and strong hands enclosing around his throat. The slave stared intensely into the patriarch’s eyes as he watched the man’s life slowly leave the glare of hatred being thrown back at him. Once the man’s body went limp he sat him back in his chair, leaning him over the table atop his books he seemed to care so much for. He then lowered the window and locked it in place. He was frightened and nervous as he stood by the door and listened for any movement, but heard none. He knew, through his preparations, that the house slaves were busy out in the kitchen house cleaning the dishes and getting ready to set out breakfast for the rest of the family, who would arrive shortly to spend time with the owner before he set out on the day’s labor. The guilty man spoke often of the lingering odor in the room of freshly cooked bacon and brewed coffee as he tried to control his breathing, waiting for his chance to exit down the hallway and out through the back door. Finally he heard the call of the head cook to the servers to come and get the rest of the food. Taking advantage of everyone’s diverted attention, he slipped through the door and into the darkness. When the alarm began to rise letting the area know something terrible had occurred he was being shaken from his bed in the small cabin he shared with several of the field hands…

Rumors were rampant at the time of the owners death about his poor treatment of his slaves and family. Tales of his cruelty, murderous rages, and vile business practices ran about the community, giving rise to the widely accepted, yet whispered, conclusion that the marks around his neck were placed there by a relative seeking to wrest control of the empire before his reputation cost them the lifestyle of comfort they had grown accustomed to.

A high school has been built on land that once saw the forced labor of slaves and the death of one of the men that drove them, a fitting outcome, yet I have to question the logic of building the school around a cemetery on the same piece of property… Sitting next to a parking lot, gym, and ball field, the old cemetery stands as a silent guardian of whisperings of years long gone, hiding its secrets, buried long ago with the occupants, for generations…

Recent years have come to find many strange occurrences taking place around this hallowed ground. There are numerous accounts of the strange smell of bacon and coffee being encountered at odd hours of the day, sounds being heard coming from the cemetery in the evening, and strange lights are being seen outside of the school when only a few of the employees are on hand.

The first account I heard of this is rife with controversy, including even a purported cover up by local officials… A few years ago there were reports of school buses parked over night in the lot next to the cemetery being vandalized. Eggs and milk were among the items discovered to be thrown on the buses, but the vandalism included the inside of the buses as well, often people were called in to clean eggs from the seats of the vehicles before they could be sent out on the morning routes. Deciding to catch the miscreants responsible, video cameras were installed in secret around the property… What was seen on the recordings was quietly covered up and not discussed by the administration.

Several local administrators watched in silence as a strange orb of light was seen circling the busses at night. Upon first glance they thought they had caught the culprits and waited patiently for them to reveal themselves in the lights of the parking lot. They were astounded to see the light then begin to rise and pass through the bus… The orb of ghostly light was not indeed a flashlight as they had first thought. Several minutes passed after they saw the light fade out. They gasped when it slowly appeared over the hood of the last bus it was seen near. I was told by an eyewitness that a few people left the room when milk was then thrown on the bus.

This wasn’t discussed by the witnesses and a strange code of silence surrounds the events. Recently local residents have reported seeing lights at night near the cemetery. People I know have been there to witness the events, they saw no lights, but did hear several strange calls come from the cemetery between midnight and one in the morning, upon investigation, no one was found inside the cemetery.

The portion of the story that I’m currently digging into is the increasing number of reports being made about a child’s laughter being heard in the parking lot and surrounding area by some of the employees when they first arrive in the morning. I spoke with a member of staff who told me that, as she approached a door that was propped open it slammed in front of her and she distinctly heard this same laughter going down the hall and thought that a student had shut the door on her. She investigated when she went in and found that she was alone in that section of the school…

“I was a bit disturbed when I got out of the car because several people had mentioned to me that they had smelled bacon and eggs cooking when they were walking across the parking lot, I never encountered that… until that morning the door shut. I kept looking for someone else because I felt like I was being watched, but I didn’t see anyone. When the door slammed in front of me I got mad because I heard a girl laughing.. I threw the door open and looked down the hall, but there was nobody around. By the time I made to the other end of the building I was so scared I was ready to go home… there just wasn’t anyone there…”