I must have walked by the old scarecrow at least 100 times. I have even clowned around and had my picture taken with the funny dummy that seems to guard the old fields at the edge of the delta, but that night coming out of the woods it struck me as strange and slightly scary.
It was bow season and I had hunted up in the Crossover area at the top of the bluff. The blue moon was rising as I turned on my flashlight and headed back to camp, (a blue moon is commonly known as the second full moon in a month) and I had to pass right by the old scarecrow at the base of the hills where it turned from bluff to delta. This area is known as the cornfields because of the narrow strip of row crop land that used to separate the bottom land from the hills. We took the old cornfields and put them in CRP and now the old scarecrow is in a thick area of young trees and 8 ft. high Johnson grass tied on a tall pole. Even so, the old ragged scarecrow has always been a welcome site to say hello to and we left it just as we found it.
He is dressed in a bright (but faded) plaid shirt, old torn jeans tied with rope and a worn straw hat. He is made up of a couple of old burlap bags sewn together and stuffed with straw and bound with rope. His head and face are a piece of workman’ leather sewn on, with the face lopsidedly painted there with a wide grin in red paint. My image had always been of a happy-go-lucky jester.
It was a low red moon shining as I finally came to the edge of the old field that night and I was eager to get to my 4-wheeler and back to camp. I had my flashlight on, not because I really needed it but have always been taught to use it coming out of the woods for safety. My mind was on dinner, who got a deer, and the nice buck that I had let go.
When I got even with the scarecrow and spotted him through the high grass, I said “Good Evening, Mr. Scarecrow! Hope you will keep an eye on that big buck for me tonight.” I walked on.
A slight movement caught my eye and I turned to look at the scarecrow again. I would have sworn I saw the head slightly turn and the arms raise up from it’s side. Instant fear froze me for a second and I stood studying the scarecrow through the grass. Had a bird or coon jumped and moved the straw man? I finally walked closer, pushed the weeds aside, and looked at the scarecrow. In the gleam of my light I saw nothing out of place but an eerie feeling was still rising in my stomach and I felt the hair on the back of my neck tingling. I stood my ground and looked all around with my light and said. “Sorry to disturb you, old friend” “Time to get to the house” I turned and walked away, but found myself watching the figure out of the corner of my eye. I even found myself looking behind me as I walked the 75 yards to my 4-wheeler. Once there I could not find my key.
Forgetting the scarecrow I feverishly looked through all my pockets. I thought for a minute. I must have dropped it at the scarecrow. I did not relish the idea of going back; in fact I was really nervous about doing so. I knew that all superstition was silly but at the Christmas Place, things are sometimes not what they seem. I shrugged off the feeling and went back shining my light on the ground looking for the key. Soon I was in the high grass carefully looking for the shine of metal. The scarecrow became secondary and truth is that I was not scared anymore and was concentrating on finding the key. A glint as I turned and it took me a minute to realize what I was seeing.
The scarecrow was gone and hanging on the wooden cross-beam that held him up was the 4-wheeler key.
I did not tell anyone the story and wonder whether the Blue Moon played a part in the strange night. To this day the scarecrow still stands on his part of The Christmas Place during the daylight hours, but I do not know where he goes at night.