The Church & The Hand Print

I'll be the first to admit, when you look at the church out in Fauquier County, it looks like a quaint country church.
Built back before the civil war, Grace Episcopal Church is a stone and stucco structure out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by forest and fields. It has two graveyards with it, one to the side and one around back butting up to the forest. The only way to it is down a dusty, windy dirt road. At night, it is dark. And when I say dark, I mean darker than a well-digger's behind. Pitch black comes to mind.

During the Civil War, Grace Episcopal, since it stood (at the time) on a major thoroughfare, was used as a military hospital/surgical area. People died there naturally. It was gruesome, from what I understand.

My story actually concerns my fifth visit to the Church (and my next-to-last, I might add). My boyfriend, Shawn, (now husband) and I had decided to go out there after I had told him about it and how it was supposedly haunted. I had told him that some odd things had happened to me there before, but nothing really all that creepy. He was curious and so we went with his stepfather, Walt, joining us.

I drove up to the church and parked in the front between two large oak trees. We walked through the gate of the picket fence and proceeded to look around. I had never had a creepy feeling there before, but tonight just 'felt' different, for some reason.

We had been there about 10 minutes, looking through the windows of the church, exploring the side graveyard and generally just goofing off when I decided to go around to the back of the church. Shawn and Walt were around the front of the church looking at the bell tower while I was exploring the back area. I heard a sound and started to turn towards it, swinging around in a way that I was facing the forest as I did so. As I swung around, I froze. There, in the forest, was... I can only describe it as 'something'. Here's the weird part: I couldn't actually see it. I had what could only be explained as a 'mental' picture of it. I knew something was there, looking at me, where I SHOULD be able to see it, but there wasn't anything physically there! I wanted to leave, I wanted to run, but I was completely frozen. I couldn't even really breathe. It was like it held me in place.

Finally, when Shawn and Walt called my name, I was able to shake it off. I was so freaked out at that point, that I just continued turning and marched right on past them. They asked what was wrong and I just said, without looking at them, "We are LEAVING. Let's go!" Again, they asked me what was wrong, as I rounded the side of the building and I said again "Let's GO! I'm LEAVING!"

I walked on around to the car and was standing outside of the driver's side waiting for them. It had been a calm, cool night in November (night before Thanksgiving, actually) and no wind. Suddenly, I felt a breeze come up and as I looked up at the trees above me, it was like there was thousands of fireflies in the branches. They lit up like a Christmas tree!

About that time, I heard Walt yell to Shawn, "RUN!" and I could hear them running, feet pounding, towards the car. I jumped in the driver side and started the car. As I did so, I looked and saw Shawn coming through the gate of the fence. As I sat there and looked, he appeared to trip or something had shoved him. He went flying through the dirt and gravel, landing on his hands and knees. He got up, continued on around the car and jumped in the front passenger seat. Walt then ran around and got in. (Note: keep in mind, Shawn was so far ahead of Walt, he was able to fall, get up and get in the car before Walt had even cleared the gate area.)

Once Walt was in the car, I took off. We went up about 5 miles to a 7-11, the whole time, Shawn complaining about his shoulder bothering him. We all thought it was from jarring it when he landed on his hands. We got to the 7-11 and he went inside. He came back out about a minute later with a weird look on his face. I asked him what was wrong, and he told me this:

"When you took off, Walt and I went and looked around to see what freaked you out. *I* didn't see anything, but Walt did. When he yelled 'run', I did. But when I got to the gate area, it felt like something shoved me, that's why I fell. I figured I had just lost my balance and being so freaked, just imagined the feeling... Until I got into the bathroom and saw this:"

He then pulled his shirt off and there, on his shoulder, was a perfect, red handprint. In a position that could only be put there if someone behind him had shoved him. And no one had appeared to be near him when he had fallen.

Explain THAT one to me!

Needless to say, we went home after that!

contact me here: emily_joyner@ureach.com

Submitted by Emily & Shawn, Virginia, USA