Uncle Frank (2)
Scott Brandt, Nth Carolina, USA
I am a long-time Louisiana native, having recently moved to North Carolina. This story is a long-running theme, which involves ghostly sightings, strange coincidences, and legend. At the risk of losing the reader's interest, I will try to leave out all the boring details.
I worked on a prestigious fire department in Northwest Louisiana for five years. While under their employ, I met three families whose lives intersected on a parcel of land which has a history of paranormal activity. I had the opportunity to view a map, circa 1790, which hailed the location as a prominent Indian village. Stories of burial ground, ghost lights, and a phantom bull with red eyes pervaded the area through generations of local inhabitants. I, myself, have been on the property looking for the burial spot, to no avail.
While there, I was told a story about Uncle Frank, a forebear to the landowners who had buried all his money, which consisted of silver dollars, somewhere on the premises. Without adieu, I probed several locations with a metal detector, yet turned up nothing more than a few pieces of scrap metal. Little did I know that Uncle Frank might have been watching my every move--even though he had been dead for several years.
His home still stands, a one-story wood-framed affair, in a corner lot next to a fallow field. I saw this structure myself as I was digging in the front yard. Inside were a lot of Frank's possessions, stored away for safe keeping. For years this place lay undisturbed, until one of the persons in the area decided that he would purchase the place and refurbish it into a summer home. This is when all the trouble began.
At the time, my driver on the ambulance lived on the property. His wife often visited the station with snippets of information on what was happening around her home. It was on one of these lazy mornings that she began her story of Uncle Frank--including the disturbing revelation that he might still be hanging around.
The problem was that Uncle Frank was an abusive man, as well as a drinker. The family knew of his violent temper, which he often directed toward his wife. To complement this depravity, he was a miser, who trusted no one. I have to guess as to when Frank lived on the property; I can reasonably assume it was in the 1950's or a little later. At any rate, his death a few years back must have been a relief to those who knew him best.
The issue of whether or not Frank still hung around was raised by those who witnessed strange phenomena at the unused home. Lights would come on for no apparent reason; shadowy, human forms were observed moving about the rooms when it was known that no one was there. By far, the most disturbing experience happened to a male relative who visited the home late one evening.
The man had innocently entered the home to retrieve something, or perhaps just to check on the structure. He doused the lights as he was leaving, only to discover that they had relit themselves as he was walking away. He reentered and hit the switch. Once again, he observed that they had come back on as he left through the twice-locked door. On his third attempt at rectifying the situation, he was told by a stern, disembodied voice to 'leave the light on.' When questioned later, the terrified man testified that it was unequivocally Frank's voice he had heard resonating through the uninhabited building.Incidentally, this man was known for his skeptical, matter of fact demeanor.
We all agreed that anyone disturbing this property was likely to have problems. Though these comments were made innocently, they were hauntingly prophetic.
The four individuals who began renovation two years ago were all related: a grandfather, his son and grandson, and grandson in-law (is there such a thing?) As I sit here and write this, it is ironic in that the incidents started with the grandfather and worked their way down, as if following a morbid schedule.
When the grandfather fell off a ladder on the back porch and fractured his shoulder, not even I was convinced anything was amiss. Yet, after a few months, when the man developed pneumonia and perished suddenly, eyebrows raised. I told the associated parties that they didn't need to be messing around with the place. I'm not superstitious; but, I'm not complacent, either. I've experienced more than my share of malignant paranormal phenomena (see 'The Portal Story' in May '99).
The son seemed to suffer the next pitfall. Thinking back on it now, this incident is the most innocuous; however, it is also interesting to note that he is the owner of the now finished structure, and his troubles may just be starting. He was standing atop a tractor next to the house one afternoon when he lost his footing and fell, incurring no injury. To those who waited, this was another sign of Frank's disapproval. I kept an open mind and dismissed it.
Months later, the grandson showed up at work (he worked on the fire department) with a suspicious mark on one of his knees. At first, he marked it up to a spider bite; but, as days passed, it grew and became so injurous that he ended up spending some time in a hospital bed. The doctors couldn't definitively diagnose his plight: they had never seen anything like it. The grandson had been spending a lot of time working around Frank's house.
Recently, the most frightful of all incidents happened to the grandson in-law. He was inside the home with a pneumatic paint sprayer, which was loaded with water-based white paint. As he was talking with his father-in-law, he unwittingly passed the tip of the gun by the unused hand, and it discharged. The sheer force of the sprayer breached one of his fingers, and shot over 60 cc's of paint into it, promptly swelling it to the size of a corn dog. Only by their swift action were physicians able to save the poor lad's finger. Were the paint oil-based, they informed him, he'd have most likely lost his entire arm.
What makes the last incident so alarming was that only a week or two before I was visiting the area and spoke with this individual. I told him that he was next (jokingly, of course). He boasted that there was no such curse, and that he had even called up the spirit one afternoon while there alone. Save from a untimely snort of a horse outside the window (which made him jump, by the way), he heard or saw nothing. Was this penance for his levity?
I'm sure that this story has not ended. Another event of recent occurrence has come to mind as I sit here. The grandson in-law had purchased a house and had it moved the land while they waited to move into it. In the meantime, they place their possessions in a newly erected barn nearby. An ice storm passed through the area late one evening in January this year, which put undue strain on the roof of the structure, causing it to collapse. All associated parties clamored that Frank was responsible for the unfortunate situation, in which nothing of value was lost.
At first glance, all of these incidents can be explained away. However, one cannot help but entertain the idea that perhaps something else is afoot--if for nothing more than a good, spine- tingling tale. Hence, my reason for relaying this to you.