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Great Grandma's Strange Story

Gretchen, MO, USA
July 2006

I love listening to my great-grandma's stories, so I didn't object when she started to tell me a story about one of her strange experiences over a glass of iced tea?

My Great-Great Grand-dad died in 1918 at the age of 48 when he fell off of a galloping horse. My Great Grandma was only 17 when this happened. The story goes that at the get together after the funeral, a strange man showed up. No one had seen him at the funeral, or anytime else for that matter. He stayed for a long time, hardly talking to anybody, and refusing to take off his coat and hat. When my Great-Great aunt pointed out to this man that, for the life of her, she could not recall who he was, he became absolutely livid and ran from the house. You can imagine how strange this seemed to everybody.

Curiosity got the best of Great grandma and she decided to follow this strange man outside to see where he had gone. She stepped outside and proceeded out into the middle of the yard, but she stopped short because the strangest sight met her eyes--the man was standing quietly on the roof of the barn, just about 5 yards away, illuminated only by the moonlight. She remembers that he had an unnatural gleam to his eyes, and when the clouds passed over the moon, and the night was pitch black, that gleam remained.

Well the moon came back out, and the man and Great grandma just stared at each other for the longest time. Then slowly the man started walking backwards, the whole time staring at Great grandma. Then a very strange thing happened, he walked backwards right off the roof. A normal person would have ran for it at this sight, but Great grandma stood there gaping at the spot where the man had dropped off. And the only thing she could think of is why she hadn't heard him hit the ground.

Her gaze fell to the corner of the barn closest to her, and she watched for few moments, expecting him to appear from behind it. She heard a rustling noise to her right where there was a small hill that led to the garden. When she looked she saw the man slowly descending the hill towards her. How on earth had he gotten over there without her seeing him?, she wondered. Well her time with this man was running short because with every stride he took, she could see that the man didn't have feet, but instead he had hooves, much like a goat. At this point she high-tailed it out of there, she said her feet maybe hit the ground twice, and got inside the porch and locked the door behind her.

She didn't stick around to find out if the man had followed her. When she got back inside she told her mama. Great-Great grandma just knew it was some kind of devil. The gathering ended shortly after.

That's not the end of the "goat man", or so my Great grandma calls him. Unfortunately, for the longest time her and great-great grandma would find dead animals, like rabbits and squirrels, on the step to the back door, and strange hoof prints were found circling the house, but it always seemed that there would be more prints below my great grandma's bedroom window, like something had been pacing just outside it. And on more than one occasion great grandma swore she could see those gleaming eyes outside when she was trying to get to sleep.

The horses would cause a racket during the night, and when investigated they would be found dripping in sweat, tossing their heads and rolling their eyes wildly, and one of the weirdest things was that the livestock would have bite marks on their ankles and tails, oddly enough. Now this could have been foxes or coyotes, but my great-great grandma knew better. The work of the devil, she'd say. If she was right, well, that's a scary thought isn't it? The odd occurrences stopped and as the hoof prints faded, and the bite marks on the cattle healed, my great grandma got over her fright almost entirely.

Although she still gets a little uneasy when the clouds pass over the moon, leaving the night in total darkness.

Gretchen, MO, USA
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