It was a beautiful spring morning and I was turkey hunting in the big hollow below the Dove Field. I had started at the top of the hollow above the outcrop that had the strange rock carvings and had slowly followed that hollow down to a tee as I called and listened for turkeys. At ten o’clock I gave up after having no luck and not even hearing a gobbler and headed east to connect with another big hollow below the Secret Field and then around to the road.
It was a long walk but I moved lightly through the crisp leaves, checking the creek for deer tracks and anything that might be interesting. It just felt good to do some strenuous exercise and be in the woods.
Turning South at the fork, I moved into a wide sand ditch that had fresh deer tracks everywhere. I had not been to this spot in a couple of years but remembered how the overhanging White Oak trees were dropping acorns and the thick brush along the sides was covered in muscadine vines so that it looked like the deer were having a feast here. I had not been able to figure out a stand location and had put the area on the back burner and promptly forgot about it after awhile.
I stopped and examined fresh turkey tracks and droppings in the sandy creek for a minute, but as I turned to go, a small glint of blue-green caught my eye and I moved to the edge of the creek to check what it could be. I was always on the lookout for old bottles and I was surprised and happy to find the blue of an old fruit jar uncovered in a wash in the bank. I opened my pocketknife and carefully dug around the blue-green glass and realized it was whole. I started digging and in a few minutes, eased the antique jar out of its hiding place.
The old quart fruit jar seemed unusually cold as I examined the exterior. It was a very old Mason jar with lots of bubbles in the glass. The glass top was still held on with rusty wire. Bold script said Mason and underneath that was 1858. My knowledge of bottles was enough to know that it was worth several hundred dollars. I was shocked and amazed to find something this valuable washed out of a bank in the woods. I was about to be more shocked than I ever imagined I would be.
I had checked the glass and not paid any attention to what was inside. Most old bottles you find will be filled with dirt. This one was not. It was still tightly sealed after around 100 years. I looked deep into the jar. The interior of the glass was partly covered with a gray mold. This mold had welded the contents of the jar in place as solidly as glue. Inside the old fruit jar was a rotting and mummified hand.
It was some unknown persons left hand, cut off just above the wrist and was leathery looking with blackened fingernails and gray with mold. I imagine at one time the old jar had been full of alcohol that had preserved the gruesome thing but it had evaporated over the years. Still, the hand was open and stuck in a slightly spread position inside the green glass.
To make the sight even more macabre, the hand still had a ring on its finger.
It was a large insignia ring with the letter W on it.
Holding the jar seemed almost like holding a spider in your hand and I eased the jar down onto the sand and wiped my hands on my pants.
I sat on my knees studying the strange contents of the antique jar. The hand and the ring were as weird an object as anyone could fantasize about in a nightmare. It suddenly seemed way too quiet and remote where I was and I felt my heart beating way too rapidly. My mouth felt dried as I tried to imagine how this horrible thing could have found its way to me.
Where was it from? What would cause someone to do this? How did it get here?
What was the significance of the ring? Why was it here?
I have read and seen where some people believe that strange and unusual things are drawn to specific locations or people. I have found this to be true for the famous Christmas Place with its long, unusual and peculiar history. I was looking down at this hand and could feel a coldness emanating from the mummified remains that left no doubt that if the green jar was opened, the results to my family and myself would be disastrous. I could feel the ill will in it growing along with a now almost overpowering desire to open the jar, pull the ring off the rotted and lifeless finger and place it on my own hand.
With the desire to open the jar, I could also visualize the hand crawling through the night to find me and the rest of my family at the camp.
The top of the fruit jar had a glass top that was wired on and you could tell that it had also been waxed over to seal it. My hand involuntarily moved forward and I picked up the blue green jar and studied the ring again. There was nothing fantastic about it. I am not sure if it was even real silver. It was just a signet ring with a W, but the desire for it was almost more than I could hold back. Almost I say, because while I studied the blackened nails of the gross left hand I saw a faint movement, at least I feel that I did. The pinkie finger curled just a minute amount, but enough to scare me so badly that I dropped the jar back to the sand and woke to the fact that I had to get rid of the cursed thing, RIGHT NOW! Was the hand really alive or had my imagination completely fooled me? I do not know but I do know that the feeling of evil was far more than anything I had ever encountered.
I started digging madly in the sand and I dug as far down as my arm would reach. Then I took a large leaf and held the jar at the top until I slid it down to the bottom of the hole. I covered it up, packing the sand as I filled it. Soon it was covered and I think it will take years before it is uncovered again unless we have a gigantic storm that would wash up the jar from 4 feet down. I will watch and make sure that it does not appear again to me or the kids in my lifetime.
Meanwhile this story may scare them a little around a campfire but someday they may realize that it is a true story and they have been warned.....