15 July, 2003
I have always had a fascination with ghosts and the paranormal but it was only in watching movies, surfing websites, and hearing experiences from others. That was about it until recently when I had my own experience. This was 3 nights ago.
I have often heard and read stories about Pleasant Ridge Cemetery (A.K.A. 13 steps), just outside of Palo, Iowa. To Sum up the bulk of what I've heard the nickname 13 steps comes from people saying that there are 13 steps leading up into the cemetery at night but if you go in the daytime there are only 12. The bulk of the rest of the stories involve shadows, strange sounds, and the occasional alleged "ghost" sightings.
These stories are all alot of hearsay; I'm not saying they are false, yet I'm not saying they're true. My only point on this is: I've heard alot, read alot, but until the other night, I had never been there so I could not personally substantiate any information...Until now!
My friend Nic, his girlfriend Tammy and I decided to pay a visit to 13 Steps on the premise that I had never been there. When we got there it was about 11 pm. I admit it, it was after the 10:30PM Cutoff, and nobody was supposed to be up there. We got out under a bright full moon with only a couple of clouds in the sky. I found it kind of strange that the clouds were almost centered over the cemetery and that the moon was so bright it was almost like daytime with a few clouds over the sun.
We walked up the steps into the cemetery. I counted them quite easily that night there were 13 no question. After getting into the cemetery we began to look around at the different years on the tombstones. The oldest ones that I found were middle 1850's, so I could tell this was a very old place. It was actually a very relaxing serene experience walking around there that night. It wasn't spooky in the slightest in fact quite peaceful. That was until the mosquitoes started biting. We've had quite a problem with them in Iowa this year, they'll eat you alive around here, figuratively speaking. Nic then made a comment that he must be tasting pretty good to them and he was ready to go back down to the car. Tammy and I followed him back to the car where we decided to sit for a little while and enjoy the breeze along with the peace and quiet.
A short while later two cars pulled in. We could tell right away they weren't anybody to worry about. They parked about 35 or 40 feet away from us parked in the same way we were. They were 4 teenagers, two couples, Probably here to find a makeout spot. They got out of their cars with flashlights and headed down a path along the side of the hill that the cemetery is perched on and proceeded up the side the hill into the cemetery. They almost seemed to be avoiding climbing the stairs.
Just as they were getting into the cemetery a truck pulls up the hill, into the parking lot, and in front of our car blocking us in. Our hearts sank when we saw the DNR logo on the side. This was his territory and he could ticket us or, if he wanted to be a jerk, have us ran off to jail. The DNR puts his truck into the park and got out letting the door hang open so his dome light can put a little light on us. We were backed into our parking spot so I had a perfect view in the passenger seat with Nic in the drivers seat. The DNR walks upto Nic's window and begins to play 20 questions: Are we up here drinking doing dope LA DE DA...So, finally he asks us just what we were doing up here. Tammy responds that we were looking for the ghost. "Ghosts, huh?", he asks, "seen anything?" Just then I watched in amazement as his trucks automatic shifter on the steering column goes down into drive and the truck pulls forward as well as starts turning toward the other two cars. The DNR ran after his truck jumps in and puts it back in park, missing the other two cars by only a few feet. Then he told us to just go and not let him catch us up there again after hours. We promptly left, grateful for not being in any trouble.
Let met clarify some things: Automatic transmissions do not just fall out of gear, manuals possibly but not an automatic. I know that I saw him put the truck in park, so the shifter had to come down 3 clicks to get to drive from park. Reverse would cause the truck to go backwards as well as neutral since he was parked going slightly uphill. So I know the truck was in park and it ended up in drive.
My only explanation is something paranormal, maybe a friendly ghost that saw us in trouble that knew we were in the cemetery being respectful. If it was a ghost I know it didn't mean anyone harm do to the fact that nobody was in either of the vehicles that it could have collided with. As far as any other explanations go they escape me.
You, whomever is reading this, must draw your own conclusions. I on the other hand now believe in ghosts.
And finally I swear to you the reader that what you have just read is absolutely true and I have many witnesses to back it up including a DNR.
Henry Asaph Webster II
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