While growing up, as a teenager it was not unusual to hide in the local cemetery and await the passage of some innocent person heading to the store or somewhere else in the early evening darkened hours. I still to this day remember the creepy thrill of jumping out from behind to tombstone and scaring the unsuspecting individual. To a young teen in those days this was a means of entertainment that actually hurt no one. However, as I grew older the cemeteries became places of potential fear.
I was in the United States Air Force and stationed in Nebraska while in the service. A friend and his wife lived away from the base and to get to their home we would need to travel a long house-less road. After traveling several miles on this road one would come upon a deserted cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. There were no churches near it, no houses to be found anywhere but just the cemetery alone.
We visited our friends one evening and during our visit the wife began to relate her experience on the road as she neared the cemetery. She informed us that as she was traveling home late one evening she took note of a young girl of about seven or eight standing in the middle of the highway with her arms stretched out in front of her as if she was asking for help. Immediately she stepped on the brakes of the car and stopped her vehicle. As she looked around the area the little girl was nowhere to be found. My friend looked all around her car for the youthful child but was unable to find her. Finally confused and somewhat scared she continued on her journey to her home.
After she had finished relating her experiences to my wife and me, a thought passed my mind. Why not place a tape recorder within the cemetery confines and record what takes place when the living is not present. Perhaps nothing will happen and the tape will remain blank but then again one never knows unless they try it. Our friend’s husband and I drove pass the cemetery towards my home to retrieve a small, battery operated cassette recorder and on the way back we made a brief stop to buy a fresh, new, unused tape for it and a supply of new batteries. As we got near to the cemetery we un-wrapped the new tape and placed it into the recorder along with the fresh set of batteries. We stopped near to the gate entrance and slowly made our way around the graves to the center of the graveyard where we set the recorder on top of one tombstone and turned it on. And that was our cue to quickly depart and that is what we hastily did.
While we were leaving both of us had chills running up and down our spine as if some unknown number of eyes were following our every step. We finally approached the car, got inside and immediately left the area heading to my friend’s home. Upon arrival we laughed with our spouses at what we had done. We looked at the issue as nothing more than fun and games. It was similar to our scare tactics as young kids in the cemetery. None of us actually expected to hear anything usual or strange on the tape after we played it back. We could at least in the end have a good laugh and experience something unusual to relate to our children as they grew up.
As midnight approached we decided to retrieve the recorder and the cassette tape and see what “ghostly events” we had captured on it. Once again as we made our way to the center of the cemetery we experienced the same chilling feelings and felt that someone or something was still watching us as we moved around. We finally picked up the recorder and as quickly as we could we made our way out of the graveyard and into the safety of our car. Off we went to my friend’s house to see what interesting sounds we had accumulated on the tape.
We got to their home and went immediately inside to sit at the table. As our host was providing fresh hot coffee, I rewound the tape to the very beginning and started to play it. On the first play of the cassette it did not appear that anything was recorded other than a lot of static similar to that which you hear when the TV goes off the air late at night. We next decided to give it a fair chance and played it a second time. Our ears we getting used to the static now and during the second play we could faintly hear distant voices on the tape unfortunately it was impossible to decipher what was being said. We assured ourselves that it was not our voices as we came and went from the cemetery and since there were no houses in the area we knew it was not some sort of echo from a distant home. This left only the disembodied souls who resided at the cemetery. As we fine tuned our ears to the recording we could hear the sound of a train traveling in the background and clearly hear it sounding its horn every now and then. Fact of the situation was that there were no trains for many miles from this cemetery.
In view of what we had heard on the tape we concluded that there was in fact a lot of activity taking place in that graveyard. Perhaps in the future I may try the same experiment again in Delaware as we have an abundance of forgotten family graveyards with but a few graves within its enclosed gates. I might just hear some additional voices that could be made out and understood. Only time will tell.
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