A lot of strange things happened the first couple of years that we moved onto the old Plantation in the Delta known as The Christmas Place.
One of these strange things persisted for a year before we found a way to stop it. Thankfully we were able to stop it before someone got hurt.
We took possession of the grounds and the caretakers house in the early fall and busied ourselves with learning the land, getting ready to deer hunt and remodeling the house so we could have a camp. Dad had even hired a bulldozer to clear all the old roads and fields.
It takes us almost two hours to drive there on weekends and on this particular weekend I was the first to arrive and Dad pulled in right behind me. It was easy to see that someone had left a note for us on the back door.
Grabbing my rifle and bag I headed to read the note and go inside with Dad. The note was hanging on a little nail and simply said “RESTORE THEM” in faded block letters. We read the note and took it inside to mull over. The paper was dirty notebook paper and there were no other markings front or back. We thought it was a joke or maybe the former owners were mad about us getting the property. So started what seemed a bizarre set of messages that we would find on our door most weekends. “FIND THEM” ”REPLACE ALL” and stranger ones that made us think that we might really have a serious problem. “DEATH” “REVENGE” “BLOOD SOON” All words that kept getting more sinister as time went on. The last message we received simply said“DIE".
The messages had steadily become more insistent and frightening until finally one weekend we found the back wall covered in blood. It was time to end the charade and find out who was behind it.
I set up in the barn that Wednesday evening and waited through the night with no messenger seen but that Thursday was a different story. It was misty and foggy that night and I would have missed it except for a slight swirl in the mist that revealed a dark figure standing in the backyard as I watched that night. I eased the shotgun up and moved silently from the barn toward the rear of the house. I was almost too late as the shrouded figure had left our door and headed toward the woods. It was hard to see in the swirling mist but in the open woods I could see him clearly as he headed up a narrow valley. I was scared but the shotgun gave me a sense that I could control the situation. The man made no sound as I followed him and I thought that he could surely hear me as I closed the gap between us.
He seemed to disappear as he reached a giant oak rearing out of the side of the hill and when I reached it I could see a large hole going down under the roots and knew that he had entered there. I shined my little flashlight then and could see boot tracks heading down into the dark hole. Maybe it was some hermit living under the ground. I was frightened, this was just too eerie. I wasn’t going to go in a cave in the middle of the night. I would explore the area in daylight and got out of there as quickly as I could.
The next morning I followed the little creek up to the hollow near the big tree. It was open and flat in the center except for a small mound that I thought could be an old Indian Mound. Fifteen feet away the huge oak grew out of the side of the hill but there was no opening under it as I poked my head under the roots to look. There was no evidence that any kind of opening had ever been there and no tracks except mine. I knew what I had seen the night before. I walked back and forth up the little sand ditch and saw no tracks except for deer. I went back and poked the area under the tree with a large stick but there was no give in the dirt and the opening was gone. I was totally confused and sat down on the little Indian Mound to think of what else to do. That is when I found it. I thought it was a piece of concrete jutting up but it had writing on it. I wiped it and realized that it was limestone and the writing was part of a date. I poked around in the leaves and soon realized I needed a shovel. Later I had dug up 16 broken and battered headstones that had been buried there for almost 70 years. The dates of death were from the late 1800’s and the newest was 1901. When the family plot was abandoned, some new owner had made sure the cemetery disappeared. Someone clearing the land had taken a dozer and pushed the headstones into a pile in the bottom of the hollow, covered them up and reset the land to pasture or crops all those years ago. I think the dozer we had clearing the roads might have reawakened some restless souls. It took us awhile but we reset the tombstones against oak trees on top of the ridge and I think we got it right. The messenger has never returned.