Sometimes you live through things that haunt you. Sometimes; no matter how many years
go by, you can’t seem to break free from a place, or a memory. There is a place like that for me…
When I was in the sixth grade my family moved to a place in the sticks. It was a place called Falling Water. The drive in was breathtaking, watching the stream cascade down the rocks was the best part of going home. But there was always something off about that place.
Our home was a trailer, situated in the bottom of a mountain on a seventeen acre field. The property was wonderful, it had all of the redneck things a young country kid would ever need! An old barn, a shed with a dog pen surrounding it, a creek with a fish pond, and old derilict vehicles strewn about.
My brother and I would spend summers on that land, playing on a john boat in the pond, or getting tricked into snipe hunting by our step-father. That night was horrible..we were marched out to the old barn on the edge of our property with only flashlights. Our uncle and step-father made noises to scare us, and scare us it did.
There were these large limestone piles in the front of the property, big enough to jump a bike on. We were so far back from the main road, the cops didn’t even want to drive up our driveway when we called. It was a cut in on the side of a hill, with a mountain spring and pond, and we were way out there. Just a trailer in the center, no one to hear a scream.
Looking back on this period my brother and myself have drawn several..well, uneasy conclusions. To be fair I am not condemning anyone, or saying this is for sure a real story. I can say the things I say are real…but I could also be wrong. Before I start a witch hunt I want that to be clear. But for anyone who can try to see the signs, the possibilities cannot be ruled out.
The first thing we agreed upon were the barrels. They were large and blue and plastic of some kind. It was a thick plastic, too. We found two of them behind the shed. They were stacked between the shed and the fence, facing a hedgerow behind the house.
See, the shed was smaller than the barn and was locked, and a large dog pen surrounded it. We used to keep our pitbull Gypsie in there. We didn’t open the shed for a long time, but we will get to that. Right now I want to focus on the barrels.
They were the kind Jeffrey Dahmer used to boil his victim’s pieces in acid. Stacked behind a locked shed, these guys just sat there in the elements. My brother and I couldn’t move one of them. The other was light as if empty. So we did what any kid would.. we cut a square out of the belly to make a bushcraft boat.
We used climbing rope, and five gallon buckets as pontoons. We even made a home-made paddle. The weird thing is, when we used this barrel as a boat we didnt wash it. It had a strong chemical smell, and my brother and I both got serious chemical burns on our skin after setting sail.
What could have been in that barrel, that could cause our skin to burn? Some type of chemical, maybe some kind of acidic residue? It bothers me to think about it. What If that play thing we laughed and sank in was some poor soul’s tomb?
The second thing my brother and I agree upon is the amount of derilict vehicles. We had two old Plymouth Dusters out by the barn, early to mid 80’s I’d guess, possibly earlier. A few Jeep Cherokees also sat gutted in the yard. It sounds bad and backwoods, but on seventeen acres it isn’t as obviously-white-trash.
These cars ranged from 1975 to 1995. Every one of them were gutted.. Now our landlord owned a shop away from town; where he fixed up cars, so we always figured those old cars were going to go to his shop one day. Why then, were they gutted?
No stereo no carpets, no nothing. No signs of anyone ever being proud to buy that thing off the lot. They just sat there like empty time capsules; like someone forgot to finish them.. We played around and I never really investigated them deep, the one time i climbed in the tan Jeep, I took a red wasp sting to the eyelid.
I know what you’re thinking. It is probably just my imagination running wild. It most likely is me seeing signs I want to see, rather than what is. That is very likely; and to be honest, I hope it’s the truth. It could just be a dark time in my childhood, and my brain is remembering things wrong. I hope all of that is true. But In my heart I know I am not mistaken.
The shed. The shed in the middle of the dog kennel. It was newer than the barn, much newer in fact. It had a master lock on the door. It was weathered, but nothing a gas powered pressure washer couldnt fix. It is the shed with the barrels we found. It is the shed we busted the lock on..
Inside this shed were several road signs: caution signs, no parking signs, and even a stop sign. There were also milk crates of…belongings. I mean 8-tracks to cassette tapes, to cd’s. Rod Stewart’s greatest hits was among them; and clothing. From the 80’s to the 2000’s there were men and womens shoes, jackets and wind breakers. Cd’s and tapes like things you would find in a car. There were also… suitcases.
Why would all this be locked in the shed, surrounded by a dog kennel, with big blue barrels out back? If these belongings were the landlord’s, wouldn’t he have taken them? Why leave them here? Why lock them away? Did those items belong to other people? Did those items come from those cars?
Speaking to my brother recently about how this haunts me, he gave me some disturbing intel. Apparently in the Falling Water area of TN in the 80’s and 90’s there were people who went missing. My brother also reminded me of the mounds, and how the landlord wanted to build a house on them.
The mounds were; as best as I could guess, limestone. Chipped pieces, like many dump trucks had come and gone, filling the prairie with sedimentary rock. Layers and layers filled mounds around 5 acres of the property. I remember jumping on them and wishing I had a dirtbike.
One summer I set the entire area on fire. The grass on the limestone mounds was a dry grass, easy to flame with the slightest spark. I decided to do a bet with a buddy, and set my bare ass on a fire ant mound. The ending of the tale, don’t do that.
To get even with these bastards I took a spray can of deodorant and a lighter and went biblical on this anthill. The dried grass went up faster than my mind could think. I had to pull my friend out, and even wet the trees so they didn’t light ablaze.
Looking back, the mounds don’t make any sense. I am not an architect, but why would a person want to build a house on top of loose limestone? Why would you fill in an area with loose rocks to then build a foundation? Wouldnt dirt suffice? Why were they mounds, and not a flat area?
So we have: the acidic plastic barrels behind the shed, the old, derilict, and stripped cars.. we have the limestone mounds, and all of the belongings in the shed. Its far enough away for no one to hear you scream, and on a huge plot of land. All of these together form red flags.
The part my brother mentioned; which bothers me the most, is that our step-father was nice to this guy. The landlord I mean. Our stepdad was an asshole, young and dumb and full off piss and fight. He never showed respect, especially to older men. Around this landlord; however, he was submissive. It was like he was scared or put off.
However it goes down, I keep having nightmares about this property. It almost feels as though I am being beckoned. I am unsure after all this time who lives there, or if the property is even inhabited. I know I have to find out the truth. So I am going tonight. My wife will be fully pissed, but I have to bury this.
Maybe I will expose a killer. Maybe the spirits of those taken need me to be their voice…to close their cold cases once and for all. Maybe I just need to know if it is all in my head. If I don’t come back, look to the mounds, or the shed, or the barrels. I’m stuffed away in there, somewhere.
Credit: Sean O’Morrison
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