Chaney, Ms> There is an old road (the Gray Rock Road) that winds west to east across the center of the famous Christmas Place. If you follow this road, it leads to the old village of Coxburg on a paved county road. This is just a crossroad in the middle of nowhere now, but go south on this road for a mile and you come to a red metal gate that leads into the backside of our property. This area can only be reached by going around on the paved road. The sharp, steep ridges and deep hollows across the bluff country is too steep to push roads into that area. It is quiet and very lonesome over there, and everyone that hunts over there agrees that someone or something is over there too.
Guests would hunt there, come in and ask about the strange man they saw in the woods. Members hunting there have almost all seen a sinister looking man peeping at them from behind a tree or slipping stealthily through the woods. Several times in the afternoon, someone would say that there was a man in their stand that jumped down and ran away as they walked into the field. They have yelled at him to stop but he disappears into the shadowy hollows.
Burney paid little attention and like me, he made jokes and fun of people reporting the strange happenings. The mysterious figure became the EastGate Phantom. This is funny during the day, but at night it is not. Burney learned this first hand.
The moon shaped field there had been worked and planted very well and the grass was thick. Deer sign was everywhere and Burney laughed the superstitious idiots off that tried to scare him before he left that afternoon. He took his fourwheeler, traveled the old road, found the paved road and followed it to the gate, got into the stand quietly and got ready. The afternoon was fun with several small bucks coming out, lots of deer eating and playing in the lush grass, but no big bucks as the sun made it’s way below the horizon. Slowly the deer left the field and the air turned colder as an early full moon rose in the sky. The moonlight gave him about 10 extra minutes to hunt and he listened hard for any sound of a deer coming his way. Just as he knew it was too late and that if a deer did come out he couldn’t see it in his scope, he heard measured walking coming straight to him down the edge of the field. He froze and strained his eyes to see the deer.
He was unnerved to see a man striding his way. Burney did not move hoping the man would leave before he saw him. The thought of the phantom did not come to his mind until the man stopped in a patch of moonlight not 20 feet away.
A tall man in a ragged black suit gazed up at him. He grinned a wide, wicked smile up at Burney that revealed a pale face, horrifyingly scarred. The face scared Burney but he did not move, his finger slipped over and eased the safety off his .270.
The man reached inside his coat and pulled out a long knife. He held it close to his chest, then pulled the knife up and ran his tongue down the long blade. He raised his head and pantomimed the slitting of his throat. When he raised his head to do this, the moonlight seemed to reflect off of his eyes for a second. He then pointed his arm in the direction of the road and gave a truly evil laugh, turned, walked away and disappeared into the night.
Burney was terrified and mad at the same time and got down ready to use his gun or beat the hell out of the crazy man. As his feet hit the ground he realized that the phantom had told him that he was going to cut his throat as he went back to his fourwheeler by the road. It was a long walk out, with him keeping his rifle ready and shining his light at every noise and shape along the way. Just as he reached his four wheeler, he heard a bone-chilling laugh. The insane laughter was coming closer as he tried to get on the fourwheeler and get it started. Finally it cranked as another gibbering crazed laugh sounded almost on top of him. He jumped on the machine and took off like a bullet.
No one has hunted the area in two years.