folklore


I was reading an article in the September 2018 issue of Fortean Times (FT370) called “Strange Stories from Southport”—a seaside town in Merseyside, roughly 20 miles north of Liverpool. Most of the stories in this article dealt with sightings of the Old Man of Halsall Moss—an old, possibly drunken, man in antique farmers clothes who is often seen staggering beside the road by passing motorists only to suddenly disappear.

Other people traveling the solitary places around Southport have had timeslips or momentarily driven through a changed landscape. One mother and son experienced a nighttime landscape beneath a crescent moon showering luminous arcs of light down upon the open fields. The streetlights on either side of the road echoed these luminous arcs, as did the headlights of the cars coming from the opposite direction. They passed a car with two ladies inside but when the mother looked in the rearview mirror, the car had completely disappeared, although there was no turn off anywhere nearby. When they returned home by this same road about three hours later, there were no arcs of light and, furthermore, they realized that the streetlights weren’t on either side of the road as they had originally perceived them, but went straight down the middle. They also realized that the crescent moon arcing light had been to the north of them instead of traveling its usual east to west.

Stories like this are a great comfort to me because I’ve had my own impossible sightings, when a mundane trip down a familiar road can turn suddenly…other. Even though I’m certain of what I saw and was fully awake in broad daylight, knowing that you have experienced something you just could not have experienced is deeply unsettling. You gnaw on it for the rest of your life, you return to it again and again, asking yourself how it could have been. And not infrequently, you (I) question your (my) sanity.

But when I read about other normal people seeing scrambled realities I can tell myself that sometimes weird stuff just happens.

Some time back my friends and I were having interesting discussions about timeslips and other warps in reality, sharing personal experiences of our own and of our friends. The next day I received the (then) latest Fortean Times (February 2017, FT 350) which had an article by Jenny Randles (“Timelessness”) on “time travel, close encounters and other ripples in reality.” Being the good Jungian that I am, I recognized a synchronicity and started working on a post—which, alas, got buried by busyness in other areas.

My friend, L. (I have four friends with the first initial of L), told me of a strange encounter she and her then-boyfriend had when camping at a remote site in the Santa Rosa Mountains of California. As they drove along the lonely highway, they came up behind an old jalopy of a truck going slowly up the mountain. It was loaded with people riding in its bed and even though they spent considerable time behind the truck because the road was too narrow for safe passing, the only person in the vehicle who acknowledged their presence was an old guy who stared and laughed and grinned in a kooky kind of way that L. found quite unnerving.

The truck continued up the mountainside, but eventually L. and her boyfriend turned off at the campground. Their car was the only one in the small parking lot in the middle of nowhere. They unloaded their gear and hiked into the remote campsite. When they got there, two women sat on one of the campground picnic tables looking at a fire on a distant range. They didn’t seem unfriendly. They smiled and said something neither L. nor her boyfriend could understand and pointed to the smoke they were watching. Again, L. felt unnerved, but she put it down to having read too much Casteneda. She and her boyfriend hiked into the woods to set up camp but when they next looked at the picnic table, the women were gone. As the night progressed, a feeling of oppression overcame L., like something wanted them gone. She felt as if she was being closed in upon, watched. L. turned to her boyfriend and said, “I think we should leave. Now.” “I think you’re right,” he said. He’d been feeling the same thing. It was the middle of the night, but they packed up in a hurry and left.

Ms. Randles speaks of the “Oz factor” often preceding odd experiences, wherein, for example, a busy road or room suddenly becomes profoundly quiet as the state of consciousness of the percipient changes. Simon Young, writing in FT362 (January 2018—“Introducing the Fairy Census 2014-2017”) says that there are a significant number of these experiences “while people are driving or travelling in a car” or stopped at lay-bys. He also speaks of a profound silence often accompanying this otherness.

In the case of a friend of a friend (another L.), when he was a teen, he was traveling down Roosevelt Boulevard in St. Petersburg, Florida in a car driven by his mother. The road was surrounded by fields and palm scrub, and as he gazed out the window, he was no longer in the car, which had completely disappeared. He was riding a horse and felt certain that he was an Indian. This went on for several minutes before he returned just as suddenly to the car.

Many years later, he decided to teach himself how to drive a stick shift so he borrowed his wife’s car and headed for this selfsame Roosevelt Boulevard because he knew he could drive to the end of it without getting in the way of too many other drivers. The boulevard dead-ended at some piney woods, so he headed in that direction. By the time he got there, it was dark and he came upon a stop sign that he didn’t remember ever seeing before. Not only that, instead of piney woods, the boulevard ended at a T-intersection. He also didn’t remember a road crossing there before, but as it was dark and he was uncertain where it led, he elected to turn around to go back the way he’d come rather than exploring the road. But he was curious, so he drove back the next day in the daylight. There was no stop sign and no road. He and his wife found an old map of the area and on that map, the road he had seen that night clearly appeared. They looked into it and discovered that the road had been created to service a housing development that had never come to pass because of environmental concerns. Even more curious, although the map had shown the road in anticipation of the housing development being built, the road had never actually been constructed. He’s very glad he decided not to drive down that road.

But it’s not just friends and friends of friends…

In December 1992, I gathered some of my loved ones together for our annual Christmas dinner. In the middle of the festivities when everyone was telling stories and laughing, my world came to a standstill. I’ve tried to describe this sensation before and that’s as close as I can come. I was sitting in that room, but outside of it, too. I saw everyone talking, but couldn’t hear them anymore. Inside of me everything had gone completely still, the kind of silence and stillness I’ve never felt before or since. I heard a voice. My impression is that it was deep, but I can’t be sure anymore and I can’t be certain whether it was male or female, but it was a voice of great conviction. It said, “This is the last Christmas you will all spend together like this.” With those words came the utter conviction that one of us would die before the next Christmas. I didn’t know who, but I suspected it was one of my parents. Then it was like the bubble burst and I was back in the room just as before, only trying hard to pretend nothing had happened, to deny what had happened. I told no one about this experience lest they think I was crazy. October rolled around and no one had died so I began to think it was ridiculous. So I finally told someone, my oldest friend, L., and we had a good laugh over my lunacy. Two days later, my father collapsed with an aortal aneurysm and passed away.

For oh so many reasons, my world was never the same after that. As Ms. Randles says, “we scramble to make sense of the scattered fragments of reality and reconstruct the world in a linear way.” It took some work to reconstruct things, but I never returned—didn’t want to return—to the same old linear narrative I’d been living. As Emily Dickinson once said, “Tell the truth, but tell it slant.” She was speaking of the artifice of art, but for me it means that the truth of reality is slant. Or as Simon Young says, “…an inconvenient fact slapping you hard in the face: reality is not as you thought.” Unless we live on the north or south poles, all of us are walking sideways on a globe, held there by gravity. But our brains can’t deal with this version of reality, so we create a level and flat plain, a straight-on world that doesn’t exist. I see the Other as something similar, something that exists alongside us, that we catch momentary glimpses of before our brains wrench us back into our more comfortable time and space.

I have also had my own “seeing things I couldn’t have seen while driving” experience. You can read about it here. (Note: I’ve just realized, looking back at that old post, that it happened the year my mother had her stroke and everything changed utterly for me. Not only that, I wrote the post no more than a week or two before my mother’s stroke.)

As Simon Young notes, “there have been several large-scale population-wide surveys of supernatural and psychic experiences over the past 120 years.” These have shown that as many as a quarter of the population have had these kinds of significant experiences, the kind that “the rest of the population would rather not think about.”

As much as twenty-five percent of the population is an impressive number. Maybe, like me, they just read too many issues of Fortean Times or maybe, just maybe, there are layers and layers of otherness living just beneath the surface of ordinary life.

  1. Let me thread you a story… (1-26)
  2. Christina Lovejoy, town curmudgeon, takes great pride in her work. She’ll crank out a grumpy face & cynical comment for many occasions,
  3. but she don’t rightly hold with raining on the parades (or birthdays, weddings, and the like) of common folk.
  4. She mostly saves her curmudgeonliness for when people in power are acting like jackasses.
  5. (Although it did come in handy that time the town caught Excessive Jubilance Disease a few years back.)
  6. “Resistance is not futile,” Christina is fond of saying, often using a mock-robot voice. “Resistance is essential.”
  7. Take, for instance, that time President Turps & Vice President Pinche passed through Portalville on their way to an economic summit.
  8. Secret Service was out in force, of course, & nobody had a problem with that. After all, big men need protecting from public opinion.
  9. But just the week before Prez Turps declared he would build a great big ol’ wall around our portal to keep out illegal aliens.
  10. VP Pinche just nodded and gave his lord and master an idiot grin (cuz the man couldn’t find his own rear with both hands) and mumbled
  11. something about subversion and perversion and conversion. Couldn’t rightly figure what he was driving at but it sounded sinister.
  12. Thing is, couldn’t none of us remember seeing illegal aliens come through our portal, just the regular grey and Nordic variety,
  13. plus assorted critters from the Multiverse. But they’s somewhat of this town’s lifeblood, if you know what I mean. They keep us lively,
  14. and honest, if I’m being honest. Christina saw it just about the same way. She stood in the middle of Route 40 as the motorcade
  15. came through town. The Secret Service swarmed to clear her out of the way, but she presented them with her grumpiest of grump faces.
  16. Halted them dead in their tracks, I can tell you. Couldn’t get within ten feet of her. The motorcade had to stop.
  17. “I mean the president no harm,” she told everyone. “But I AM going to speak my mind.”
  18. All the tinted windows in the president’s limo spontaneously rolled down at once so he could hear what Christina had to say.
  19. “You can try building a wall around our portal,” she said, “but you should know we are a small town surrounded by big power….
  20. “Really big power, like HUGE, and it would be bad, very bad, and sad, very sad, if you did anything so rash.
  21. “That kind of power can’t be contained. It ripples out underground, spreading from this town out and beyond,
  22. “to places you can’t even imagine, like the hearts of good people, to the selfless and the courageous and the compassionate—
  23. “those things you & that Pinche with you have only heard spoken of & never felt yourselves. You can’t stop feelings, can’t stop ideas.
  24. “So I suggest you give up on that wall or you’ll be swallowed in an ocean of contempt that will drown you. Big water, big, big water.”
  25. Christina stepped out of the road, the president’s windows rolled back up, and the motorcade went on its way.
  26. But ain’t none of us heard any more nonsense about walling off the portal.

My morning commute is seven miles from front door to workplace garage. Being Los Angeles, that seven miles is fraught with many traffic headaches. Most mornings it takes about forty minutes—but there have been many notable exceptions.

Today was one of those. My commute took one hour and fifteen minutes. For much of that time I was stuck on the Lincoln Boulevard hill down from the Westchester plateau. There really are only three ways down from the plateau and I was on the wrong one. Construction on the Ballona Creek Bridge near Marina del Rey had reduced four-lane Lincoln to one-lane Lincoln. Even at the top of the hill I couldn’t tell where the problem lay as I was behind a large truck and in the lane next to me was a bus, both effectively blocking my view. I was stuck in the second lane because I knew the first lane was blocked ahead from previous commutes, and I couldn’t get over to the right because everyone in those lanes was just as blocked as I.

So I called work and told them I would be seriously late and tried as hard as I could to go with it and remain calm. Mostly it worked. I thought thoughts, I listened to music, I tried to stay positive, I amused myself by thinking of a guy on the elevator last night who escaped with his life because I didn’t possess an ice pick.

And so I sat for close to an hour. About a half hour in, I noticed a dragonfly, about five inches long. It flew back and forth over the hood of my car six times, not more than a couple of feet from my windshield. Knowing that dragonflies are very symbolic critters, I wondered if it had some message for me?

“This too shall pass.”
“Hello from Mom and Dad.”
“Pay attention, mortal.”
“Concern yourself with what’s important.”
“Which way to the wetlands?”

And in fact when he flew over my car the last time he headed purposefully west, towards the wetlands.

According to http://bit.ly/1RnTHQA

“The dragonfly totem carries the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. As spirit animal, the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life. Those who have this animal as totem may be inclined to delve deep into their emotions and shine their true colors.”

Okay. I wouldn’t necessarily count on that. And don’t even get me started on that whole “spirit animal” thang. I mean, I do acknowledge that I’m in sore need of transformation. But the ways of the world are strong.

It is, however, interesting that this should come up now. I was just having this conversation with myself last night. It was a little less poetic, though. More along the lines of “You better get your s**t together, girl, and stop acting like a baby. Things need to change.”

Maybe the dragonfly was a reminder of that, a reinforcer of my own soul’s message to Self. Maybe a coincidence, but it’s no fun thinking like that, unless you call it a synchronicity.

So, a synchronous message of soul to Self, or Self to self, or…

It was a very beautiful dragonfly, all blue and gold. I loved watching it fly.

  1. Let me thread you a story… (1-16)
  2. Sam Hotchkiss is the caretaker down to Shady Groves Cemetery. Sam says as how he likes his job, walking through the quiet and peace,
  3. making sure the residents are happy. Most enjoy the peace as much as Sam. Any that don’t tend not to stay in Shady Groves.
  4. They get up and wander ‘round town and sometimes have to be dealt with by Madame Nimby and her son Rupert.
  5. Others just wander the streets taking in the sights, seeing what old friends and family are up to.
  6. Wanderin’ gets old after awhile—and takes a passel of energy. When they dissipate enough of that restless mojo they go back
  7. to Shady Groves and their sod beds, wrap their grass blankets back around themselves, and rest eternal.
  8. Sam takes particular care of the children there. He feels bad they got cut off so young and didn’t have a chance to live long and prosper.
  9. He likes to leave marbles by their graves so they can have a game now and then. Used to leave stuffed animals, too,
  10. but they tended to get soggy when it rained and the kids didn’t care for ‘em much after that.
  11. Electronic games don’t work for similar reasons. ‘Sides, it’s difficult for the kids to maintain corporeal fingers long enough to swipe and tap.
  12. They do enjoy a nice game of hide n’ seek, sometimes with Sam, sometimes with each other.
  13. Ain’t rightly fair when they play with Sam, though. If he gets too close to finding them, they can just go invisible.
  14. That trick don’t work with each other—spirits can always see other spirits—but Sam is a mere mortal, after all.
  15. Them kids laugh and laugh when Sam seeks and seeks and never finds. “Play fair, you kids!” he’ll call out to them.
  16. But mostly he’s laughing when he says it. Can’t blame kids for having a good time.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.
You can read about us from the beginning at: http://bit.ly/2k1j8B7

1. Let me thread you a story…(1-30)
2. Mayor Begay has been in office for some time now. We like the job he does and the way he cares for all the people of Portalville.
3. Weren’t always that way. We had us a mayor before who caused nothing but hard feelings and chaos. Mayor Covfefe.
4. As I’ve said before, folks in Portalville are generally accepting of everybody, but even good folks get scared sometimes.
5. If you’ve got an unscrupulous sumbich who likes chaos and playing on people’s fears it’s sometimes hard to break through the stramash,
6. and get people thinking sensibly once more. Mayor Covfefe was one of those sorts. Took over the City Council with his pack of yes men,
7. forcing agendas on the town nobody really liked but were too scared to oppose. Nobody trusted anybody else, see, and figured everyone
8. was out to get them, so no one wanted to listen to what others said without starting a yelling match.
9. So much screaming in the extremes when most folks just wanted to negotiate some peace that the City Council ground to a halt.
10. Weren’t no business getting done, or only what business lined the pockets of Mayor Covfefe and his cronies.
11. They tried to shred every principle we held dear here in Portalville, violating city by-laws like confetti.
12. Pretty soon folks was yelling at each other over every tiny thing that came along and forming parties of folk yelling in the same key.
13. We had us the Portalville League of Lawyers threatening to file suit over anyone who didn’t agree with them.
14. Fortunately, they mostly couldn’t agree with each other so their suits went nowhere or were easily dismissed by Judge Mathead.
15. Then we had us the Portalville League of Opposition. They didn’t really have a point of view except that they were in opposition…
16. to everyone else in town. “What are you opposing?” people would ask. “What have you got?” they’d answer.
17. The Portalville League of Witches got so fed up they put reversal spells on half the town. So many folks walked around
18. with heads on backwards they didn’t know if they was coming or going & got a much closer look at bodily functions than they ever wanted.
19. Finally, Sherman Begay, the town shoemaker, had enough. He formed the Portalville League of the Beleaguered to try to reassert sense.
20. Bar-Bar Shumay was one of the first to join, followed by Madame Mosibelle Nimby and her son Rupert.
21. They held giant clear-seeing resistance rallies where everyone who showed up got the scales lifted from their eyes.
22. Pretty soon, folks saw that Mayor Covfefe was a minor god of chaos, although no god of chaos is ever truly minor.
23. His magic had scared folks into going against their better nature, against what they knew was right.
24. (Then again, some folks ain’t got better natures and think right is only what is right for them. Even the most powerful magic
25. can’t do nothing to heal that kind of perversion. What’s required to fight them folks is a really big stick.)
26. Fear is a great motivator, but I got to believe love is, too. Once Sherman Begay, & Bar-Bar, & the Nimbys broke through the shouting,
27. let people see the truth, most folks came around. They realized that loving your neighbor wasn’t just a passel of pretty-sounding words.
28. It’s a way forward, a commitment to doing what’s right for the whole community.
29. Folks decided that they’d rather live in harmony than have their own way in every tiny thing. Compromise became a holy tenet.
30. Come next election, Mayor Covfefe lost by a landslide. And that’s how the new mayor, Sherman Begay the shoemaker, saved our souls.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

  1. Let me thread you a story… (1-17)
  2. Portalville has been on summer vacation. Yep, that’s right, the whole danged town. We needed a break from our day-to-day reality.
  3. So we hired us a whole mess of buses and drove them through the portal after which Portalville is named.
  4. We came out in another plain of existence, somewhere folks could all agree about things and where no one felt better than anyone else.
  5. Clearly, not any place on this earth.
  6. Now, Portalville is a pretty friendly place under normal circumstances and we mostly get along with each other right nice.
  7. But sometimes it all gets a bit much, especially when outside agitators come to town and demand we take sides in their outside arguments.
  8. It gets wearying, and if you add into that the tendency of most folks in town towards summer seasonal affective disorder…
  9. Well, like I said, time for a break. So, Mayor Begay ordered up those buses. We had the dire wolves manning the barricades on Route 40,
  10. let the Rock tribe seal up the passes through the Imogen Mountains, and told Dennis the Toll Troll to shut down the Wynotte Bridge—
  11. although the mayor told him he still wasn’t allowed to eat anyone who tried to cross. We sure hope he kept his word there.
  12. With the town sealed off from the world and our minds at ease about invasion, we took to the portal and had us a fine time.
  13. ‘Course, vacation always has to end sometime. The kids had to get back to school, the maintenance crews had to get back to work.
  14. And running away from problems never does any good in the long run. Not while you’re a living, breathing human being.
  15. Ain’t none of us dead yet, and while you’re drawing air into your lungs you need to be part of the world. Or you ain’t really living.
  16. So yep, we’re back. We’re still breathing. For now, anyway. All I can truly say for sure is that we’re back for today.
  17. But then, today is all you ever have, ain’t it?

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

(1/27) Let me thread you a story…(1/27)
(2/27) Portalville was prid near shut down to outsiders in the days leading up to and after the 4th of July.
(3/27) We had our annual parade, featuring the Alouette High marching band, a float for Miss Firecracker, & Zombie Drill Team, like always.
(4/27) But visitors to Portalville had trouble getting here. There’s plenty ways to Portalville. You can go through the Imogen Mountains,
(5/27) east of town, and then on through the Rokoko Valley. And there’s Route 40 which passes north-south through town.
(6/27) But the main way most outsiders get here is from the west, over the Wynotte Bridge on the Wynotte River.
(7/27) Folks approaching Portalville from the bridge might notice a strange structure nestled under the eastern end of the bridge.
(8/27) It looks kind of like a condo clinging there. The impression only gets stronger once they get close because it is, in fact, a condo.
(9/27) It connects via a staircase to the toll booth right above. And it’s where Dennis the Toll Troll lives.
(10/27) People might not think he’s a troll. He usually dresses in a red plaid flannel shirt (summer and winter), black gabardine trousers,
(11/27) with a “Portaville Toll Authority” baseball cap. ‘Course, he is ten feet tall with two lower jaw tusks curlin’ over his lip.
(12/27) And he also has a tendency to take the fifth of Hiram Walker whiskey out of his back pocket to take a slug while collecting tolls.
(13/27) Generally, though, Dennis is peaceable. He collects the tolls, pockets half, and to the best of our knowledge never eats anyone.
(14/27) Wasn’t always so. Wynotte wasn’t always a toll bridge. Dennis freelanced. If someone came across the bridge when he was peckish,
(15/27) that person might not be heard from again. The town had to do something. A mob with torches formed, but Dennis is a powerful troll,
(16/27) not only strong as a whole army, but with mesmerizing magic. The mob didn’t have much luck. Dennis had a full belly, though.
(17/27) We didn’t have Sheriff Limonada back then or she might have defused the situation. As it was, Mayor Begay had to negotiate.
(18/27) The town finally agreed to let Dennis collect tolls officially on the bridge, half of which he could keep, half for the town,
(19/27) but under no circumstances was he to eat people. He didn’t like that. “I’m a humanitarian,” he protested. “I only eat humans.”
(20/27) So the town agreed to supply Dennis with a steady stream of hogs & cattle if he’d agree to let people alone. No more mobs would
(21/27) trouble him. He reluctantly agreed since the mobs were a nuisance & not having to hunt & fight was a perq.
(22/27) We even built him the condo to sweeten the deal. AC, a chef’s kitchen with an island & granite countertops, & a killer master bath.
(23/27) Things were good for a long time. But Dennis had him a backslide this week. Far as we know he didn’t kill and eat anyone, but he told
(24/27) the sheriff that the human-eating jones was so strong he decided to close the bridge rather than risk it having his way with him.
(25/27) She said he belched a meaty belch at her, excused himself, & said, “I sure would miss my AC if you had to force me to move.”
(26/27) The bridge is open again and outsiders are moving over it unmolested. Dennis seems to be calm and happy again.
(27/27) We’ve received no missing persons reports. So far.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

1. Let me Thread you a story…(1-18)
2. We’re just a little town. Don’t go in much for big and showy, but we had us a fella once who liked to write his name everywhere in town.
3. Wasn’t a building or a fence or a bench or a sidewalk safe from his red spray can. “Huge, Huge, Huge” it said everywhere.
4. Natty Knowles spent all his time scrubbing it off things & the town shelled out so much money for it they finally confronted Freddy Huge.
5. Said they were going to make him pay all the expenses. At first, Freddy tried to blame one of the Syrian refugee families in town.
6. But everyone knew Ahmed Shah was a hard-working man who just wanted to raise his family in a safe, peaceful place.
7. And his wife, Halimah, was busy raising their two boys, Idris and Harun, 4 and 3, respectively.
8. Besides, she was eight months pregnant at the time with their daughter, Bilqis, and everyone knew she couldn’t be doing it.
9. Besides, Minnie Halverson, head of the Beale Street Neighborhood Watch was on stakeout one night and saw what happened.
10. Freddy would never dirty his own hands with anything like real work, but his Russian accountant, Ivan Drago, was up for the job.
11. Minnie literally caught him red-handed as the spray paint leaked back over his fingers some.
12. Faced with this evidence and a huge bill from the city, Freddy and Ivan declared bankruptcy.
13. They snuck out of town one night and folks hear tell they set up shop in New Jersey where waste management is a…big industry.
14. Sad to say they left the shareholders at Huge Waste Management holding the bag, and people lost badly needed jobs.
15. Like I’ve said before, we take care of our own in this town. Mayor Begay formed a city waste management firm.
16. The shareholders were happy to buy into that, folks kept their jobs, and we saw no more red spray paint around town.
17. Meanwhile, Freddy and his Russian contact are growing wealthy. Hear tell they’ve opened a university for the waste management business.
18. Naturally, it’s called Huge Waste University.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

  1. Let me Thread you a story…(1-24)
  2. Rikiki Rocks, just outside town in the Rokoko Valley, is a special place.
  3. The stones there have all kinds of fantastical shapes. There’s Old Man Mammoth, a massive piece of elephantine-shaped granite.
  4. And Donut Rock, a modern name for a big circular thing with a hole in the middle. Local tradition says if a woman wishes to conceive,
  5. she should pass through the hole in that rock under the light of the full moon. That’s why it’s also known as Mother Rock.
  6. There’s many another fanciful shape with fanciful traditions, and I could spend days describing them all. Maybe I will someday.
  7. But one thing to know about Rikiki Rocks is that sometime in the way back when somebody carved pictographs on ‘em.
  8. These pictures show warriors, hunters, shamans, prey animals and such like. Some have red ochre added to the grooves.
  9. Folks do say as how these rocks are sacred to the local Kintache Indians. Yaku Ravenwing, the Kintache story shaman, agrees.
  10. Yaku’s legal name is Arturo, but nobody ever calls him that. Yaku means “blue tongue” in Kintache and he really can talk a blue streak.
  11. One time when he was storytelling at a Kintache powwow, some folks swore they saw blue flames sprouting from his mouth.
  12. Like any good narrator, Yaku swears his stories are mostly true so when he says Rikiki Rocks are not to be messed with, people listen.
  13. No one in Portalville would ever desecrate them, but we do get the occasional drive-by tourist that can’t help themselves.
  14. Yaku tells about two such good ol’ boys driving through from Talladega on their way to California.
  15. They took a rest break at Daisy Mae’s Snack-a-Round out on Route 40. She had a picture of Rikiki Rocks behind the bar.
  16. These boys asked about ‘em and Daisy Mae all innocently said how proud people were of ’em in these parts.
  17. Well, you know, the devil is in some folks, and that ain’t no lie, no matter what else may be a story, no matter what else you believe.
  18. These boys got a notion to go out to those rocks and add their names to ‘em. Stopped by Pedergreen’s Hardware for spray paint & chisels.
  19. Way Yaku tells it, when they got to the rocks weren’t another human around ‘cept the hunters, shamans & warriors on the pictographs.
  20. Guess they didn’t notice the sasquatch taking a rest beside The Bigtoes, some Rikikis shaped like 5 giant toes sticking out of the sand.
  21. Sasquatch don’t usually get involved in human affairs, but those rocks is sacred to them, too. Yaku says Sasquatch took care of things.
  22. Sheriff Limonada found the boys’ car abandoned near the Rikikis but didn’t never find a trace of them boys.
  23. So I asked Yaku how he knew the sasquatch took care of them boys if nobody else was around?
  24. He just grinned his big ol’ grin. “Sasquatch told me, of course.” Weren’t but a trace of blue flame & smoke on his lips when he said it.

 

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

 


1. Let me Thread you a story…(1-16)
2. We got us some spooky properties here in town, left over from the days of the Great Spirit Invasion of ’07.
3. Spirits poured into town from all over through a rip in the Space-Time Continuum, taking up residence in homes and businesses.
4. Madame Nimby, town exorcist, & her son Rupert sewed up the rip with existential thread and that kept new ghosts from coming through.
5. But they were so busy exorcising the ones already here they couldn’t keep up. It took a deal of time for things to settle down.
6. Most ghosts was just lost souls sucked through the rip by accident and easily persuaded to move on to a higher place.
7. Some, though, were stubborn & not inclined to persuasion. Folks who had those spirits in their homes & businesses had a tough choice.
8. Either move out or learn to live with haints. Some businesses made deals with the ghosts to stay quiet during business hours.
9. Likewise, some residents made similar deals, asking that the hauntings stop after everyone had gone to bed.
10. Still others just couldn’t live with the ruckus, or the spirits refused to cooperate. But we take care of our own.
11. The town banded together to build new homes & businesses for those forced out. That left about a dozen spooky abandoned buildings.
12. Madame & Rupert laid down salt & warding spells ‘round those places. Kept the bad spirits from wandering.
13. Nowadays our biggest problem is out-of-towner ghost hunters pestering us to do investigations (cuz we got us a ghosty reputation).
14. Some of these are sincere folks just wanting to understand the nature of the universe & we towners got no problem with them.
15. Others seem to see ghost hunting as entertainment. I don’t hold with people who use the lost souls of the dead that way.
16. But ain’t no spells for exorcising dilettantes. More’s the pity.

This story can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

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