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November 2001

Let me be blunt. Despite what I saw, I still do not believe in ghosts. I simply do not dwell on nor attempt to explain what happened.

When I was about fourteen we moved into a new home built on what at one time had been an old creek bed. The creek had been channeled many years before to a man-made gully about seventy feet from the house. The area was supposedly used in the 1800's as a camping ground by pioneers migrating to the western states. Some relics of these people had been unearthed when the neighborhood was built.

One summer evening some friends and I went into the wooded area near the neighborhood to do the kind of stupid stuff teenaged males do. We had been in the woods for an hour or so when we heard a child crying. We tried to follow the sound but it never seemed to stay in one location and would come from in front of us then immediately be behind us. We called out to the person, but never got a response. The crying suddenly stopped and we decided it must have been a cat or something else so we went home.

A few days later I went into the woods alone and again heard the crying. This time I could make out words and it sounded as if a child was crying for her mother. I tried again to follow the sound, but it still seemed to move all around. The person still did not respond to my calls. I decided that the girl must be lost or in danger, so I decided to go back to my house and call the police. As I ran back, I was startled to see a figure of a young girl dressed in very old fashioned clothing (like one sees on Little House on the Prairie) standing across a ravine to my left. She was in shadows, so I couldn't see her clearly. I told her to stay there and I would come to her. She just stood absolutely still and stared at me. I had to climb down about ten feet to cross the ravine, but I got to the other side quickly and climbed up to where she was. Only she wasn't there anymore. I looked around the area but couldn't find her anywhere. I finally gave up and went home to call the police.

The police came out and took my statement then briefly searched the area. They told me and my parents that no one had reported a child missing, so she probably was a child from the area who had been scared by me and then gone home.

Over the next several months, other people reported hearing a young child crying in the area of the woods, but no one ever found the child.

About three years passed and construction was beginning on the next phase of the neighborhood. The wooded area was going to be cleared to build the houses.

One day the construction crew came across a stone slate with words crudely carved on it. The words said something to the effect of "Our Ophelia. RIP" The crew dug down beneath the stone and called the police when they found a skeleton dressed in pioneer style clothing. The body later was determined to be a girl who lived in the era when wagon trains had come through the area. Exactly who she was or why she died, no one ever knew - but it did make for an interesting article in the local paper. The body was moved to a cemetery.

I still do not know if that young girl's ghost appeared to me that day or if she was the source of the cries, but it sure gives me a chill whenever I think about it.

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