If you get the heebie-jeebies,
This column’s not for you,
If you’re prone to creepy-crawlies,
Find something else to do,
If you flinch or cringe or tremble
Over things you can’t explain,
Or if tingling, shivering prickles
Send the willies through your brain.
If you get the squirmy-wormies
That wriggle down your spine,
Or the backbone-bristling jitters
Over things you can’t define,
Put the paper down this moment,
Turn the page, leave your rooms,
You’re about to get goose-pimply
As this eerie tale resumes.
Do you have a creepy story? I have two creepy stories.
Endowed with the faculties of reason, most of us live sensible, rational lives where there are sensible, rational explanations for just about everything. Ten years ago, two weird events occurred, and I have yet to invent a plausible explanation for either incident. Some things just can’t be explained rationally.
It was late in the summer of 1991, and I was heading home from a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota with my dogs. I crossed over the Wyoming border and was headed south on highway 25 when I started noticing a strange cloud in the sky. Across an expanse of prairie miles, south and east of my location, this strange cumulus cloud kept flashing brilliant floods of light throughout the cauliflower formation. It was the only cloud in the sky. The translucent bursts of light filled the billowy mass every few seconds.
The mesmerizing display lasted for 30 or more miles of highway driving until I was nearly beneath it. No lightning bolts ever left the cloud, but every few seconds, the cloud lit up from within, thunderstruck with lustrous light.
Suddenly and without warning, two huge balls of light flashed in my direction from the top of a plateau. A split-second later, from the base of the same plateau, two more balls of light shot dazzling beams in my direction. A split-second after that, my car quit working. I rolled to a stop. Nothing worked. The radio, the lights … everything. … The engine wouldn’t even turn over. The cloud in the sky kept flashing.
I pushed my car to exit 57 and parked in a desolate dirt pullout. After getting the dogs a drink, I hopped on my bicycle and rode three miles to Chugwater. The cloud in the sky kept flashing.
Chugwater has no services available. The nearest service station was 25 miles away, and it wouldn’t be open till tomorrow. I had to spend the night, so I rode back to my car and let the dogs out. That’s when things got weird.
I decided to photograph the cloud as it was still flashing. I picked up my tripod and camera and started walking to the edge of the dirt pullout. It was then that I ran into something, but there was nothing there. The more I tried to push against it, the more it pushed back. There was nothing there. My ears started ringing and I lost my sense of equilibrium as I tried to move forward. Confused, I stopped trying to step forward and took one step back, and all the symptoms disappeared. There was nothing there. I ran into something that wasn’t there.
Have you ever taken two positively charged magnets and tried to push them together? It was like that.
Six months later, while out photographing an old, abandoned farm house up Garfield Creek, the second creepy incident occurred. It was almost midnight under a full moon, and I was out practicing my night-time photography techniques.
I scouted the house earlier in the day and found it to be uninhabited. When I arrived in the dark, I took a flashlight and my dogs with me to inspect all the rooms and closets where anyone or anything might be hiding. There were four open rooms downstairs and three open rooms with two closets upstairs. Nothing was there.
After setting up the tripod for the first exposure, I walked back upstairs to the south room and “painted” lights in the window for my camera to see. I used my flashlight as my “paintbrush.” It took about 15 minutes to complete the first shot. I was preparing the camera for the second shot when things suddenly got weird.
A bright light appeared behind my back casting dark shadows at my feet. I thought someone was standing behind me with a spotlight. I spun around, but there was nothing there. All I saw was a falling meteorite, nothing else.
I went back into the house for the second exposure. Upon reaching the second floor, I froze. The door to the south room was shut tight! Paralyzed with fright, I listened to the house. No breeze through the broken windows, no rustling of footsteps, nothing but dead silence. My blood curdled.
“It must’ve been the wind,” I said, “it must’ve been the wind.” But there was no wind.
I tried to keep working but the chills racing up and down my spine made it impossible to continue. I returned the following day and got up the nerve to open the door to the south room. I pushed with all my might as the rusty hinges creaked and popped and crackled against my weight. It took all of my effort to open the door. … The wind couldn’t have closed it. There was nothing there.
Silt resident Bernie Boettcher’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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