Release Day for A Cold Tomorrow #suspense #mystery #mothman #RRBC

Happy book birthday to me! 🙂

It’s release day for A COLD TOMORROW, book 2 in my Point Pleasant series.

creepy dirt road at night with the book cover for A Cold Tomorrow by author Mae Clair in the foregroundTake a trip with me to 1982 and the small riverside town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Discover a community beset by a series of inexplicable events—strange lights in the sky, the arrival of mysterious men in black clothing, sightings of a winged monster known as the Mothman. If all of that sounds like a bizarre combination, these events actually befell Point Pleasant during the period of 1966-67, most of them documented in the book The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel.

I’ve resurrected those incidents, setting them fifteen years later in the early 1980s. My central characters get caught up in otherworldly and supernatural events related to UFOs and the Mothman, just to name a few. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve probably seen the blurb, but if not, you can find it here.

Today, I thought I’d share an excerpt. The passage below is from one of the opening scenes. Sergeant Ryan Flynn of the Point Pleasant PD responds to a call from local dairy farmer, Chester Wilson, who called after discovering a strange substance strewn across his fields. But that isn’t all that has him worried. Take a look:

eerie farm road late at night below a green sky“What exactly did you want to show me?” Ryan asked, trying to keep Wilson on track.

 “It’s just over the next rise.”  

Thankfully, the walk wasn’t far. As soon as they crested the hill, Ryan knew exactly what Wilson wanted him to see. A pattern of black-and-white splotches defined the bulk of a large farm animal lying on its side. 

“Shit.” His muttered exclamation had nothing to do with stars or UFOs. Blowing out a breath, Ryan approached the cow wordlessly. Wilson and several other area farmers relied on their prized Holsteins to keep their dairy operations running smoothly. All he needed was for some drunk to have gone on a joyride and put a bullet through the animal’s skull. But all thoughts of tanked-up behavior fled the moment he got a closer look at the carcass. 

Odd that the kill hadn’t attracted turkey vultures or crows, almost as if the poor thing was too defiled for a scavenger to touch. As far as he could tell there was no visible wound, bullet or otherwise. To be certain, he walked around the animal before squatting to take a closer look at its head. 

“Sick, ain’t it?” Wilson asked. 

Like something from a B horror movie. Ryan didn’t think an animal had that much blood in its body. The gory mess that had coagulated into a dense puddle under its head had come from its ears, nose, and mouth. 

Grimacing, he glanced up at Wilson. “Was this animal ill, Chester?” 

“No, sir. Fit as a fiddle.” 

“Kind of a weird place to find her.” The cow was in a field Wilson didn’t use for corralling, judging by the lack of fencing. Even odder, Ryan saw no sign of bovine tracks or crushed grass in any direction. And no footprints to indicate the cow had been led there. 

“How did she get here?” 

“That’s just it.” Looking puzzled, Wilson scratched his chin. “I haven’t got a clue. I put her in the barn with the others last night. That was the last I saw her until I found her this morning.” He shook his head, remorse filling his eyes as he gazed down on the dead cow. “What do you think happened? All that blood… What could do that to her?” 

Ryan hated to speculate. “I’ll call the county veterinarian for large animals.” 

“You know what he’s gonna say, don’t you?” Wilson looked up, his eyes bulging, face drawn in the early morning light. “Nothing about it’s natural. It’s like her damn brain exploded.”

~ooOOoo~

A COLD TOMORROW is available in ebook versions or print from all major book retailers. If eerie green lights, conspiracy theories, flicker phenomena, and alien visitors sound like your type of story, I think you’ll enjoy this mystery/suspense novel which also includes a light romantic thread. And—of course—the Mothman.

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The Tragic Collapse of the Silver Bridge by Mae Clair

I’m back on tour today with my mystery/suspense novel, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS. Set in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the book is a blend of history and fiction spun around the urban legend of the Mothman and the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge.

Banner for A Thousand Yesteryears, a mystery/suspense release by Mae Clair

Today, I’m at Jan Sike’s blog. Jan is a sister author with Rave Reviews Book Club, and my hostess for the day. If you get a chance, hop over and pay me a visit. I’m blogging about the bridge that defined and forever changed the town of Point Pleasant!

The Bogeyman Beneath the Bed by Mae Clair

Remember your childhood, and the creepy monsters who populated the darkness? Faceless beings who lurked in nether regions, tucked under the bed, burrowed in the closet, or hidden in a dank basement. The bogeyman was certainly the worst.

Today, for the third day of my blog tour celebrating the release of A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, I’m visiting RRBC sister author Jenny Hinsman and sharing a post about the night time terrors that existed in our imagination, yet seemed so real.

Why not drop by and share your own memories of those vivid creatures of yesteryear?

Banner for A Thousand Yesteryears, a mystery/suspense release by Mae Clair

Red Eyes and Winged Beasts #TheMothman

I’m a late with this post, but have another historical Mothman sighting to share. I’ve already posted two sightings from the night of November 15, 1966—the first reported by four eye-witnesses, the second by one.

Night road cutting through dark wooded setting, illuminated by headlightsOn the night of November 16, 1966, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wamsley, along with Mrs. Marcella Bennett and her baby daughter Teena were on their way to visit Ralph and Virginia Thomas. The Thomas family lived near the TNT, an abandoned WWII munitions site located outside of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It was on TNT grounds that Roger Scarberry, his wife, and friends were chased by a giant winged creature the night before.

When the Wamsley’s and Marcella Bennett arrived at the Thomas home, they discovered Ralph and Virginia were out for the evening. They stayed a short time, chatting with the Thomas’ three children, Rickie, Connie and Vicki, then headed back to their car.

Before they could reach the vehicle, a figure slowly rose behind it.  Marcella Bennett described the thing as being big and gray, larger than a man, “with terrible glowing red eyes.” She was so terrified by the creature she dropped her daughter and froze, hypnotized by what appeared to be a winged, headless being. Raymond Wamsley scooped up the little girl (who was not hurt), snared Marcella and, along with his wife, raced back into the house. They quickly secured and bolted the door.

Within seconds, they heard a noise on the porch. Two red eyes appeared in the window, staring through the glass. The women and children broke into a panic, and Wamsley frantically called the police. By the time the authorities arrived, the creature was gone. It would not, however, be the last time it was seen. Between 1966 and 1967, there were over 100 Mothman sightings.

I had the Wamsley/Bennett sighting in the back of my mind when spinning a plot thread involving one of my main characters in A Thousand Yesteryears. A house by the TNT, red eyes staring through the windows…they both play into a tragic occurrence that drastically changes Caden Flynn.

To meet Caden, and the other characters who populate my Point Pleasant, I hope you’ll give A Thousand Yesteryears a try. And hey, admit it—you might just be a little curious about that title, too! 🙂

Book cover for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair, depicting a wooded thicket at nightBLURB:

Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real…

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer…

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Night of the Mothman, Part II by Mae Clair

Yesterday on my blog, I shared the November 15, 1966 sighting of the Mothman by Richard and Linda Scarberry, along with friends Steve and Mary Malette—certainly the most famous. But the creature made another appearance that same night.

Ninety miles away from Point Pleasant, in Salem, West Virginia, Newell Partridge was home watching television. Partridge worked as a building contractor and was no doubt winding down from a long day. His dog, Bandit, a German shepherd, was outside on the front porch. At approximately 10:30 Partridge’s TV abruptly went dark. A strange pattern filled the screen and a loud whining noise erupted outside. Partridge said the sound reminded him of a generator winding up. Whatever the cause, it launched Bandit into a frenzied state of howling.

Barn at night with a light onAlarmed, Partridge hunted up a flashlight and hurried to investigate. He spied two red eyes that looked like “bicycle reflectors” near his hay barn, situated about 150 yards away. He was positive the glowing eyes did not belong to an animal. Barking, Bandit shot off across the yard to challenge the creature. Partridge ducked into the house and grabbed a gun, but terror overwhelmed him.

He would later tell reporters the creature had frightened him so badly he couldn’t bring himself to go back outside. He slept with the gun by his bed throughout the night. When morning rolled around, he discovered Bandit missing. Tracks in the mud near the barn indicated his dog had spun about in a mindless circle, as if chasing his tail.

Two days later Partridge was reading the local paper when he stumbled over an article detailing what the Scarberrys and Malettes had witnessed the same night Bandit disappeared. Roger Scarberry reported seeing the body of a large dog on the side of the road during the frantic drive into Point Pleasant. When he and the others left, returning by the same route only minutes later, the body was gone.

Sadly for Partridge, Bandit was never seen again.

There are no dogs in A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, which releases today, but you will find plenty of references to the mysterious Mothman and the terror that gripped Point Pleasant in ’66 and ’67.

Grab a copy and see for yourself what NY Times bestselling author, Kevin O’Brien calls “bone-chilling fiction.” Then be sure to come back tomorrow for details on another spooky Mothman sighting!

Do you know the Mothman? I do. Bwahahaha!

Book cover for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair, depicting a wooded thicket at nightPurchase Links for A THOUSAND YESTYERYEARS:
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Mythical Monday: Charlie No-Face, the Green Man by Mae Clair

I’ve been digging around in urban legend territory lately, looking for a good bogey-man tale, when I happened upon the story of Charlie No-Face, also known as the Green Man of western Pennsylvania. As with many urban legends, portions of this tale have a basis in fact. Sad and tragic, but true nonetheless.

According to legend, the Green Man was an electrician who almost met his end when was he was electrocuted on the job. Another version claims he was struck by lightning. In both cases, his face was horribly disfigured and his skin was imbued with an eerie greenish cast. Shunned by those around him, he retreated to an abandoned railway tunnel which became his home. By night, he roamed the roadways and countryside, often creeping upon unsuspecting teens who favored secluded areas. Over the years as the legend grew, the Green Man—or Charlie No-Face—became a tale to frighten children and share by campfires on dark summer nights.

But the reality is much different, the story of a compassionate man who suffered a horrific accident as a child. Ray Robinson was only eight years old when he and some friends were walking past the Morado Railway Bridge in 1919. Egged on by his buddies, Ray climbed the bridge (which held the power lines for a trolley) hoping for a better glimpse of a bird’s nest they’d spied from the ground. At some point he came in contact with a high voltage wire and was severely electrocuted.

He suffered burns from the waist up, and for a time it was not certain if he would live or die. His face was mutilated—both eyes burned away, his nose reduced to a hole, one ear mangled as well as his mouth. Yet despite his appalling injuries, this young boy found the will to survive. After numerous surgeries he remained in good humor, adapting to a life that included Braille and small pleasures like listening to the radio.

Raymond_Robinson_(Green_Man)

Raymond Robinson also known as the Green Man, (Fair use)*

Horribly scarred and blind, he would become a recluse over time, rarely venturing out at day because of his appearance. He never had more than a first grade education but kept busy at home learning puzzles and dabbling in small crafts. Those who knew him claimed he was one of the nicest souls they’d ever met.

Sometime in the 1940s when he was an adult, Ray began taking nightly walks using a walking stick to guide him, following a course along a section of road known as Route 351. He enjoyed the routine which gave him the freedom to venture outside under the cover of darkness away from prying eyes. But word eventually leaked about “the green man” who roamed the road at night. Soon curiosity-seekers began looking for him. Most were friendly, some even sharing beer and cigarettes with him, but a few were demeaning and cruel.

Ray remained undaunted and continued his nightly walks, gaining popularity in the 1950s and 60s when many people sought him out to chat. By the 1980s he’d finally reached an age where he couldn’t continue the habit any longer, taking up residence in a nursing home. Ray passed away at age seventy-four on June 11, 1985, leaving two legends behind: that of a supernatural bogey-main who prowled the night-blacked roads in search of unsuspecting teens, and the reality of a kind-hearted man who lived an amazing life.

Although the urban legend of the Green Man is perhaps the more widely-circulated, thankfully, it’s rarely mentioned without tribute to the courageous man who inspired it. Rest in peace, Ray.

~ooOOoo~

*Photo of Raymond Robinson (fair use) Copied from http://www.ncnewsmedia.com/archive/tim_galleries/SPECIAL_PROJECTS_07/
OCTOBER/Green_Man/image1.htm

Mythical Monday: Pennsylvania’s Hoodoo Train, Engine 1313 by Mae Clair

Before launching into today’s Mythical Monday post, I invite you to visit me at the blog of Kristi Rose where I’m sharing ECLIPSE LAKE and also news of my next two releases. Do hop over if you get a chance. You can find the post here. As for Mythical Monday, today’s topic isn’t about a beastie or mystical place, but a cursed train tucked into Pennsylvania history. As a “Keystoner” I’m always intrigued by legends related to my home state. Thus, I invite you to ride on the hoodoo . . .

Most people are a little freaky about the number thirteen. Even if you’re not superstitious, most are conscious of the ill omens associated with a number tied to bad luck. Given that connection, it’s surprising the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) had no qualms about rolling out Engine 1313 in 1888.

Many muttered no good would come of it, but the railroad wasn’t interested in superstition or idle gossip tied to ancient folklore. The engine went on the line with high aspirations, all quickly squelched when the train struck and killed two children during its maiden voyage. The engine was examined, found to be in perfect working order, and placed back on the track. It failed again when the train plunged off a railroad bridge killing twelve people including the train’s fireman and engineer. A month later, it collided with another train, resulting in the derailment of several cars and injuries to numerous passengers.

steam train with smoke exiting funnel rising up hill ** Note: Slight blurriness, best at smaller sizesPuzzled, inspectors thoroughly examined the engine but could find nothing wrong. Surely, the catastrophes couldn’t be tied to the assignment of an ill-fated number.

The train was placed back on the track, only to have its boiler blow as it laboriously chugged up a mountain. The train’s fireman was blown out of the car and badly injured. Once again the train was examined and once again, the engine passed inspection. Despite growing grumblings from railroad workers who whispered of bad tidings and ill omens, the train was returned to the line. For several months all went well, and the hoodoo taint of 1313 seemed a thing of the past. Then, when arriving at Manor Station, its brakes failed, causing it to ram another train. The fireman for Engine 1313 was injured in the accident just as many of his predecessors had been.

Officials at PRR pulled the train off the tracks and had their mechanics scour it for defects. Despite all the stories about brake failure, they couldn’t find anything wrong. The train was returned to operation, but it wasn’t long before catastrophe stuck. Engine 1313 failed to stop at a station when the engineer applied the brakes, resulting in the death of three people. PRR’s mechanics took the train to task but found nothing wrong.

Placed on the tracks yet again, 1313 was rolling through Sang Hollow when its oil can suddenly exploded, burning the fireman and engineer. The last straw for most of the workers, they beseeched PRR to pull the train from commission. The company finally complied. Whether or not PRR believed the jinx associated with Engine 1313, it was abundantly clear workers wanted nothing to do with Pennsylvania’s hoodoo train.

Which brings me to my question—how do you feel about the number thirteen?

I readily admit it’s one I don’t like, and I’m highly superstitious about it. By the same token, it’s my street address/house number, which doesn’t bother me at all. What a strange parallel. Could it be because one is mystical and the other mundane and common place? I’d love to hear your thoughts on hoodoo thirteen—and Pennsylvania’s Engine 1313. Please share!

Mythical Monday: Beware the Bunny Man by Mae Clair

Although this nefarious character is usually spotted near Halloween, I couldn’t resist the bunny connection with Easter. It just seemed a good time to blog about an urban legend related to well… bunnies.

Before I go any further, let me state emphatically that I adore bunnies. And Easter is my second favorite holiday, after Christmas. I love it for its religious significance and also the sense of rebirth it brings with the newness of spring. It’s one holiday I would never want to associate with anything “soiled” for lack of a better word.  Then I stumbled over the urban legend of the Bunny Man.

According to folklore, in 1904, the residents of Clifton, Virginia petitioned to have a nearby mental asylum shut down and its patients relocated. In hindsight, that was probably a bad idea. For proof, I offer the following nugget of wisdom:  Any urban legend that includes the mention of “mental” and “asylum” usually doesn’t end well and this one is no different.

Norfolk Southern Freight Train at Colchester Overpass.

Norfolk Southern Freight Train at Colchester Overpass. Photo credit: By Kohlchester via Wikimedia Commons

The residents of Clifton got their wish, but in the process of transferring the patients to another facility, the vehicle used to move them was involved in a crash. A few of the prisoners died, many others escaped and took to the countryside.

The authorities immediately launched a search and were able to round up all of the escapees with the exception of a man named Douglas Grifon. Grifon had supposedly been institutionalized for murdering his wife and children on Easter Sunday.

In the days following his escape, the residents were horrified to find the skinned, half-eaten carcasses of rabbits dangling from the branches of surrounding trees. Their fear transitioned to terror when the body of a man named Marcus Wallster was found in a similar condition not long afterward. His mutilated corpse was discovered hanging from a tree near a railroad overpass.

Prompted by the grisly discovery, the police began another frenzied search, this time managing to catch up with Grifon near the bridge. Before they could apprehend him, he ran onto the railroad tracks and was struck by an oncoming train. The horrific scene turned spine-tingling when the train passed, rattling down the tracks. In the unnatural silence that followed, the police were spooked by the sound of sinister laughter.

Train and vehicular traffic at Colchester Overpass aka Bunnyman Bridge

Colcehster Overpass. Photo credit: By Kohlchester, via Wikimedia Commons

Thereafter, the locals referred to the site as Bunny Man Bridge, dubbing Grifon the Bunny Man. For years after his death, carcasses were found hanging from the overpass in the days preceding Halloween.

Should you like to explore this legend yourself, all you need do is visit the southern railway overpass that crosses Colchester Road near Clifton, Virginia. But beware should you go exploring— the bunny man’s laughter is still heard echoing through the trees.

 

Mythical Monday: The Mummy’s Curse by Mae Clair

I recently finished a book by Lincoln Child called The Third Gate, a fictional account about an expedition to locate the tomb of an ancient pharaoh. A bit slower moving than most of Mr. Child’s work, it nonetheless held me riveted for three days with its combination of Egyptology, examination of NDE’s (near death experiences) and archaic curses. It also made me recall an urban legend about a mummy’s curse.

In the 1890s, four young Englishmen were touring Egypt when they met an antiquities dealer in a bar one evening. He regaled them with tales of the goods he had collected during his travels, including a sarcophagus containing the intact mummy of a princess of the Thirteenth Dynasty. Offering to show it to the young men, he suggested they visit his warehouse the next day.

old egyptian parchmentEager to see such a prize, the men met him as promised, and were instantly taken with the gorgeous sarcophagus. The lid was inlaid with precious stones and had been painted with a portrait of the princess as she’d looked during life, a beautiful woman who held the men mesmerized. After examining the mummy, the four men pooled their resources and asked the antiquities dealer to sell them the sarcophaguses. After some haggling, they agreed on a price.

“Before we conclude the deal, I must warn you the mummy is said to be cursed,” the antiquities dealer told them.

Scoffing, the men dismissed the warning, saying they didn’t believe in superstition. They thanked the dealer, paid him his money, and had the sarcophaguses shipped to their hotel. Later that evening, three of the men met in the bar for dinner, but the fourth never arrived. One said he’d observed their friend walking toward the desert and assumed he had just gone for an evening stroll. But the man never returned and was never seen again, despite several searches by the local police.

From that point forward, troubles quickly followed. Another member of the party had to have his arm amputated when a servant accidentally fired a hunting rifle while packing the weapon for the trip home.  During the voyage, another received devastating news that bad investments had destroyed his family’s fortune, and the final succumbed to an illness no doctor could diagnose or cure.

Vintage photo of happy familyThough they had laughed at the curse initially, the two survivors immediately put the sarcophagus up for sale. In London they found a buyer who had a passion for Egyptian antiques. A businessman, the new owner had the sarcophagus moved to his home where he hoped to showcase it among his collection. Shortly thereafter, the man’s wife and two of his children were severely injured in a carriage accident. To compound his misery, a fire swept through his house, destroying all of his belongings and every item in his antiquity collection…with the exception of the sarcophagus.

Anxious to be rid of the thing, he donated it to the British Museum anonymously. It wasn’t long before accidents started occurring: a man slipped and broke his leg, workers reported hearing hammering and sobbing coming from within the sarcophagus, a char woman who scoffed at the curse, lost her only child to a deadly case of measles. Another worker dropped dead of no apparent cause, and a foreman who had supervised the move was found dead at his desk.

Learning of the curse, a photographer snapped images of the sarcophagus. When he developed the film, he found the beautiful face of the princess on the lid superimposed with a ghastly image of decaying flesh. That night, he locked himself in his room and shot himself in the head.

For twelve years the sarcophagus was bandied about, passing from owner to owner. Most scoffed at it’s curse initially, but like the young Englishmen who’d brought it back from Europe, quickly realized it left a trail of tragedy and violent death in its wake. Eventually, it was purchased by an American collector who transferred the sarcophagus to a passenger liner in early April 1912. Eager to be back in the States with his prize, he booked himself a luxury stateroom on the same vessel which was making its maiden voyage. Unknown to the collector, he and the princess would ensure the ship lived forever in the annals of history.

The sarcophagus had been stored in the hull of the Titanic.

~ooOOoo~

If you liked this tale, check out Alligators in the Sewer and 222 Other Urban Legends by Thomas J. Craughwell

Mythical Monday: The Strange Legend of Harmon and Jacob Dick by Mae Clair

Today, I’d like to share an unusual legend from my home state of Pennsylvania. It involves the family of a Hessian soldier, and a tale that begins during the American Revolution.

In an effort to end the uprising in America, the British government hired Hessian soldiers to aid Crown troops in fighting the Colonials. On the night of December 25th, 1776, George Washington surprised a Hessian encampment by boldly crossing the Delaware River. A feat that seemed impossible given the icy conditions and the depleted state of his troops.

lossy-page1-800px-Washington_at_the_Battle_of_Trenton._December_1776._Copy_of_engraving_by_Illman_Brothers_after_E._L._Henry,_circa_1870.,_-_NARA_-_532916.tif

George Washington at the Battle of Trenton
Edward Lamson Henry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Caught by surprise, the Hessians were outmaneuvered and taken prisoner with minimal fighting. Washington gave the foreign soldiers a chance to swear allegiance to the American government if they chose.

One of those who took the oath was Harmon Dick. Originally from Scotland, he had lived in Germany before joining the Hessians to fight in the Colonies. Legend says he became a staunch supporter of the new American government and a good friend to Washington.

Harmon settled near Roaring Spring in Blair County, Pennsylvania where he took up homesteading and started a family. By all accounts life proceeded smoothly until 1786 when a terrible epidemic swept the area. Harmon’s oldest son Jacob was the first to succumb, perishing from the illness when he was in his early teens.

For fourteen years the fatal disease devastated the community. Eventually, not a single family remained that hadn’t suffered loss. Spurred by fear and superstition, the people began to whisper among themselves. Surely, the foul affliction couldn’t be natural. Not a year went past that it didn’t claim more lives. Even now, many among them were sick. Would it whittle away their numbers until no one was left?

In desperation they entertained any solution that hinted of hope no matter how far-fetched. Jacob Dick had been the first victim. Perhaps the answer to their plight rested in his grave.

bigstock-Wooden-Cross-28567430

Marshaling their courage, those well enough to do so, gathered shovels and digging irons and trudged to the tiny cemetery where Jacob was buried. In the hush of the graveyard, they dug his casket from the earth, and pried the lid from the old coffin.

Although Jacob’s corpse had had lain in the dark soil for fourteen years and should have decomposed, his body and face were still those of a young boy. His hair, by contrast, had grown exceedingly long, and was the same pristine white as the snow that blanketed the hillsides in winter. He’d grown a beard too, just as long and equally as white.

As the gathered group tried to make sense of the incomprehensible sight, the corpse broke apart, disintegrating into dust. Horrified, the villagers quickly reburied the coffin. I’m sure many muttered prayers, hoping to put the frightening incident behind them.

Surprisingly, the pestilence immediately ceased to plague the community. Those who had been ill quickly recovered, and the strange disease claimed no further lives. Harmon Dick and his wife gave birth to another son, the youngest in their large family. They named the baby Jacob in memory of their eldest, taken before his time. Perhaps they believed he watched over them still.

Did the settlers who dug up a young boy’s corpse unwittingly find the means of banishing a supernatural epidemic? Did Jacob, or his spirit, rid the village of the abdominal disease that had claimed his life?

bigstock-Teen-Boy-398294

The peculiar history of Jacob Dick can be found online, along with genealogy reports, land transfers, and the will of his father, Harmon. It’s fascinating to think this family can trace its roots back to a man who swore an oath to an upstart government when offered that chance by its Commander-in-Chief, General George Washington.

Perhaps Jacob Dick merely wanted to continue what his father started — protecting his family and ensuring they continued to flourish. An admirable ambition for a boy who never had the chance to become a man.