Harvest Moon, MS> We bought the famous Christmas Place in the spring of 1995. The first thing we did was start renovating the brick house into our camp house, and then we brought a bulldozer in to open up all the old roads and create food plots. Before we knew it, time had moved to early fall and we were itching to get out and really explore for deer sign and find a good place to hunt for the fall. During that time, I located the Pond Stand where I hunted that year, but Trent had an unexpected and terrifying ordeal.
He was scouting up in the Spike Camp area and it was late in the afternoon. He had seen a couple of deer while scouting and sat down and waited till they moved on and then realized that it was now dark. He figured he would cut across country till he hit the old road and locate his 4-wheeler there. He set out as the last of the daylight slipped away. It was the dark of the moon and the woods quickly became jet black as he crossed the deep hollows. He walked, trying to keep a straight line, but soon lost his way in the deep and twisting ravines. It was getting late and so dark that you could hardly see your hand in front of your face. He headed down another one of the steep slopes and at the sandy bottom, he looked way up it and could see a light. He thought it was one of us and moved in that direction. As he got closer, a strange smell hit his nostrils. It was sweet and also sickening, he also realized that the light was the glow of a campfire.
He wondered, what the hell we were doing?
He entered the glow of the fire and saw a man sitting on a log across the fire from him. The man was staring at him and Trent said “hello” The bearded man dressed in old overhauls and a brim hat smiled and said “Hello, heard you comin’, what brings you up here?” Trent stepped closer and said “We just bought this property and I’m heading back to our camp.” Then added “I think you are on posted property” The man stuck a stick in the fire, and Trent realized that 4 or 5 big burly men had stepped out of the shadows behind him.
His eyes had adjusted and his glance around also revealed several large drums, piles of wood, boxes of plastic jugs, and two large metal stills bubbling in a cleared spot to the side that seemed to emit the odor he had smelled. He recognized the copper coils that fed down into a large drum. He also knew that he was in trouble.
The men crowded up close behind him and Trent said, “Look, I’m just passing through and don’t want any trouble”, the man cut him off by saying “You’re one of those Howells’ aren’t you? We heard you posted this place and that y’all are not going to let any of us run our dogs on here anymore. That’s too bad. We’re moving all our stuff out tonight, but you ought to have a drink with us before we go.” The quick rabbit punch to Trent’s kidney, knocked him to his knees and the men proceeded to beat him to the ground. They held him down as the man walked over and said “Time for you to have a drink.” One of the men had gone over to the still and dipped out a gallon paint bucket of the sour mash, they forced him up, held his face, covered his nose, forced open his mouth and started pouring it in. He gasped and almost drowned as they forced the vile mash down his throat. He could see corn, rotten fruit and meat and other things as the liquid poured all over him and was forced into him. They held tight to him and kept bringing more unto he threw up into it. They never quit, they just kept forcing it into his mouth.
Trent doesn’t know how long it lasted. it seemed hours but was probably about 15 minutes. Finally, they released him, threw him to the ground and started beating and kicking him as he lay there. Puking, trying to ward off blows, he had little chance and lost consciousness.
We found Trent the next afternoon, crawling out of the woods. He was bloody, beaten and sick. He had several cracked ribs and was sick for two weeks.
The Holmes County Sheriff and deputies went in with us and all we found were some tire tracks leading out of the hollow, part of the still, a few crates and a still smoldering fire. We never found out who they were and Trent has never recognized any of the men. We thought about selling, but stuck it out.
If you smell that sweet sickening odor or see something that might be Moonshiners, get the hell out of there as fast as possible. They do not like to be disturbed.