Author: Bach, Gene

Was it really there?
Was it really there?
Guest Column from Gene Bach
Friday, July 31, 2009

Have you ever had the feeling you werenít alone? When youíre walking along a moonlit path, or in places where the sun isnít able to penetrate a tangled web of branches on itsí quest to reach the ground? When the wind moans through the treetops, do you ever think you hear something unusual? Have you ever caught motion in the corner of your eye, or been startled by the rustling of leaves behind you, and had the hair on your neck stand on end?

For a good number of years, my Grandma and Grandpa were caretakers on a high dollar duck club in the Butte Sink area about ten miles West of Gridley, California. It was a great place for an adventurous teenager to spend the summers. There were several large canals there to fish in, and I could roam the entire area at will on a daily basis. I knew every square inch of that place and could easily have closed my eyes and found my way to wherever I wanted to go.

And yet, as familiar as I was with the property during the day, everything changed at night. As innocuous as the landmarks I used to navigate the lighted hours were, they took on a much more sinister personality during the night. The old cottonwood tree, with the broken branches on either side, became a night creature with outstretched arms that beckoned me near. The sound of the water rushing through the pipes, going from one side of the road to the other, at night sounded like something slithering across the dusty gravel road, coming closer, ever so much closer.

And yet, even with those things hovering all around me in the darkness, I bravely went about my way in search of catfish. Most likely I did so because I never really saw anything: at least not outside I didnít. I canít say the same thing for inside the clubhouse.

The place were my grandparents lived, and the hunters stayed during those times they were at the club, was an old eight bedroom, three bathroom, sprawling house, built four feet off the ground. My grandparents had a bedroom and bathroom on the west side of the house, and to the south was a long wing that contained seven bedrooms and two bathrooms. When I was there I always slept in the first bedroom on the left.

My bedroom wasnít large at all, perhaps ten feet wide by ten feet long. It had a small closet, and there were two twin beds, on either side of the window opposite the entry door from the hall. Between them was a night stand. The walls were dark-stained tongue and groove knotty pine. I always slept in the bed on the left side of the room. I slept well there, and my stays were uneventful: until that morningÖ

I awakened on a warm summer morning as the sun began to shine through my window. I was on my stomach with my head turned away from the center of the room, toward the wall. As my eyes slowly opened, and I struggled to gain some awareness of the day, I sensed that I was not alone. I became intensely aware that there was someone standing next to me, between the beds. I turned my head to the center of the room to see who it was, and looked at the figure of a man in a military uniform: a man who shouldnít have been there. When I moved my eyes up to get a look at his face, I saw that he had no head. Quickly, I turned away, buried my head in the pillow, and disappeared in the covers. I stayed that way, frozen with fear, for what seemed to be an eternity. When I gathered the courage to look again, he was gone.

I leapt out of bed and ran into the kitchen where my Grandma and Grandpa were having coffee and breakfast. I told them of what I saw. They listened, but Iím sure they didnít believe me. I had some coffee with them, ate some breakfast, and then went back to my room to get dressed, still a bit nervous, to say the least.

I never again saw the figure of the headless man in the military uniform, nor did I ever hear of anyone else who did. My grandparents may not have believed me, but I know that what I saw that morning was as real a thing as I have ever seen.

So, how about you? Have you ever experienced anything like that? Have you come into contact with things that you could not explain? Bluegrass ghost storiesÖa topic of interest to many, I would think.
Posted:  7/31/2009

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