I’ve had a few ask if I knew any ghost stories, considering the time of the year. I had to think, and respond ‘yes, but I’m not sure I have permission to publish them.’ However, I do believe I may print my own without embarrassing anyone. So, for those with itching ears who would like to hear something new, I give for your entertainment only, some of my family’s ‘ghost’ stories.
Jenny May Scott, my great grandmother, was born north of Delevan in 1890. In 1910 she married Orville Varner and at some point shortly thereafter moved to our family farm between Lyndon and Quenemo in Osage County. On August 11th 1933, Jenny died during child birth in the old farmhouse; that last child is my great uncle Dick who still lives at Berryton. Family stories have been passed down telling of a few strange happenings.
My great uncle Dick says that after his mother died her rocking chair would occasionally be found rocking by itself. A number of the family witnessed this and as you can imagine it bothered them a great deal. The rocker was eventually taken to the barn where it would not cause any more distractions.
When my mother was a little girl (this would have been in the mid 60s), her and her brother and parents would go swimming in the big pond at the back of the farm. They’d drive the car out there and park it. On one occasion they’d been swimming for awhile and my mother was getting chilled so she went to sit in the car and warm up while the others continued swimming. While she was sitting there a woman in a white coat walked up and stopped right in front of the car. She turned and looked at my mother and smiled very pleasantly at her and then walked on. My mother remembers this very distinctly. When the rest of the family came back to the car she asked them who the lady was. They responded, ‘what lady?’ My mother said, ‘the lady who just walked through here.’ Nobody else had seen her.
Well, forty years after this incident finds me in our big barn rummaging through an old trunk of my great grandfather’s. There were pants and vests, some of my grandpa’s WWII clothes, and various other garments. I pulled out a ladies white coat; double breasted, large buttons and collar, a belt around the waist, skirt reaching to the knees and sleeves with large cuffs. I’ll point out to the reader that at this time I had not heard the story, so the coat made no impression on me when I found it.
When I did hear the story and my mother mentioned the white coat, my eyes got big as dinner plates, as my grandmother use to say. I asked her to describe the coat if she remembered it. Her description matched the coat I found in the old trunk years before. Now your guess is as good as mine, but we always assumed that the coat from the trunk was my great grandmother’s.
My grandfather told me once when I was a small boy, that once when he was a small boy he saw a light pass through the yard one evening. He said everyone in the house saw it. Of course even as a small child I always tried to find a rational explanation for everything. So I said, ‘it was probably someone with a lantern walking through the farm.’ They did have a lot of tramps that came through there and often got fed at our house. He replied that the light wasn’t like a lamp or flashlight. It was a ball of light and it was about twenty feet off the ground, moving through the barnyard. It moved slowly and eventually vanished. After thinking of every possible answer, and having each one shot down by my own or my grandfather’s reasoning, I gave up and accepted it as supernatural.
Years later, in school, I read a very interesting article in a magazine about a rare phenomenon called ‘ball lightning.’ I don’t know which was the more rare phenomena, the ball lightning or the fact that I learned something interesting at school. If you don’t believe me you can look it up yourself. Ball lightning is just that; a ball of light that varies in size, travels through the air rapidly or slowly, it can be white, yellow or bluish, it sometimes passes through walls and buildings and it can travel in a straight path or zigzag. It clicked. After all those years I found out what it was that my grandpa had seen on that evening so long ago. Next time I saw him I told him all about ball lightning.
One last story I can attest to personally, although I do not know if it is supernatural, aeronautic, meteorologic, super human or what; I can tell you it happened. My grandfather had just returned from the field one morning and grabbing the 100 foot tape measure told me to come help him. We got on the old D 17 and drove to the middle of the farm to a bean field. The beans were up about four inches or so. Out in the middle of the field was a rubber tire. We walked out there together to investigate.
When grandpa drove by earlier he noticed it and wondered how it got there. There were no tracks leading out to it. When we walked out to it, it was very clear there were no tracks anywhere around it, except the ones we had just made. The tire had fallen from the sky. There was an impression on the earth where it hit the ground and then bounced a few feet. I made the suggestion that it fell off an airplane. My grandpa pointed out that it was a tire from the junk pile at the edge of the field. He recognized it because he had cut a square out of it for a washer or spacer.
Now, according to my grandpa that tire was near the bottom of the pile and nothing else was disturbed. Even if he were mistaken on this fact, there is no explanation how that tire travelled 310 feet through the air, to the middle of the field without leaving a trace of evidence. Could it have been a twister? Maybe. There was no storm the night before, and nothing else was disturbed, but I guess twisters have done stranger things. I have no better explanation.