When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a special effect artist. I was really into horror movies, horror shows, like Tales from the Dark Side, Monsters, Freddy’s Nightmares, and then there was the magazines, such as Fangoria. I thought that special effects would make for an interesting career. I did not fall down that path for many reasons. My father may have played a part in the fact he looked down horror movies (and me). He did not understand where I got this ” twisted” interest.
When I was younger, around five, I lived in a house my grandfather owned, on my mom’s side of the family. I will call this the yellow house. As it was a small house, and technically only had one bed room. The mud room, which was in the back of the house, and was a pretty good size, was turned into a bed room for me and my brother Jason. Jason is younger than me; he is the son my parents wanted. Not to say they did not want me, but he was always more like them, then I will ever be.
If you were to pull into the driveway of this house, you could pass my house, and it continued on pass a row of apple trees, which made up a very small orchard. The other side of the drive was a cow pasture, which belonged to a neighbor. Once you were past the apple trees, you came to a trailer in which my Aunt Debbie and Cousin Bo lived from my dad’s side. Bo is a year older then I am, and during our teenage years, we would both live with our grandmother. Some could say he is like a brother to me. His father passed away before he was born. I will never forget the day we went to visit the grave site after he got his license. It was the first time he had ever been there.
On the right side of this house, was a small ranch house that was owned, and lived in my Aunt Juanita, and my Uncle Jennings, from my mother side. They had 3 boys Robbie, Randy, and Kevin. One more house down, my grandmothers sister, lived. They had a small pig farm. Behind the trailer that was behind my house, and my aunts, and uncles houses, were miles and miles of woods. Needless to say I grew up, in a small community, surrounded by family, friends, and religion.
One evening, NBC was showing King Kong (the first remake); they were showing it in two nights, splitting the movie into two parts. I remember I was in kindergarten. I remember this so clearly, that it is almost seems like it is not real. My Aunt Debbie, wanted to watch the movie, and invited us down to her trailer to watch it with her. Now that I think back on it, I think she was scared to watch it alone. Towards the end of the second night, my father tells us that he was tired, and was going to back home, and go to bed. The movie finished, and my mom, my brother, and I started the walk home. An apple falls from the tree. Then another apple falls from the tree and then another one. Then out of nowhere, and ape jumps out of the tree. So here is my mother, my brother who was 3 at the time, and myself, who was 5. We just gotten done watching King Kong, and here is a monkey. We all screamed, until we realize that it was only my father. He was dressed in a monkey suit, and had climbed an apple tree, and waited on us.
Sometime shortly after that, my father got a 55 Chevy. It was black, with flames on the side. It was your typical hot rod. One night my parents decided that wanted to go for a ride. This was very common. I remember us driving around and my mom and dad talking. Every once in a while, I would be part of the conversation, but it was a rare thing. It was early in the evening, and the sun was just setting. I remember Journey – Who’s Crying Now was playing. Needless to say I did not know the name of the song or artist until I got older. To this day every time I hear the opening piano to the song, I get crept out. (Just a little bit) We were driving around pretty aimlessly, when my father realized we were close to Jamestown. This meant we were close to Lydia’s Bridge. What is Lydia’s Bridge you may ask? Lydia’s Bridge is where are local ghost hitchhiker resides. It is under a bridge US-70. I think every town has some sort of story, or legend. The one I always heard growing up, was Lydia and her prom date crashed under the bridge, because of a bad storm. They say if you go past the bridge around prom season, you will Lydia. She will be hitchhiking, trying to get home. If you stop and pick her up, and go to the address she gives you, she will disappear by the time you get there, never able to get home.
The road that went up under the bridge has actually been moved, and there is a new bridge there now. However you can still pull off to the side of the road, and walk to the original bridge on one side. The other side of the bridge is covered in woods, brush and vines that cover the entrance. My father went down to the original bridge as a teenage boy along with his older brother to party, and hangout with some of their friends. As it was told me, on more than occasion, my father and uncle, and their friends were all drinking, and listening to music. They even had a bonfire going up under the old bridge, when a smell started to fill the chamber. At first they did not notice. The smell of perfume got stronger, and stronger. Then from the other side of the bridge, the side that was covered in vines, they saw a light. It was faint at first, but got brighter and brighter. By this time, everyone had stopped, and noticed not only the smell, but the light. It being night, and the fact they had it was the haunted bridge, they all took off running, scared half to death. When they reached home, they told my grandfather, whom I have been told was a very “realistic” person. He did not believe in ghost, UFO’s or anything of the like. He did not believe them for even a minute. The three of them went back to the bridge. When they got there, the bonfire was out and still smoking slightly. They did not see or hear anything. When they turned around to leave however the perfume hit them, and then they all saw the light. My grandfather was convinced that someone was playing a joke, and looked best he could but was unable to find anything. So he did what any realistic person would do. He called the cops. After he called the cops, they drove back out to the bridge, and waited for the cops. Once the cop got there, they all walked back to the bridge. The cop was telling my grandfather, how they get these calls a few time a year, and that it is always nothing. My grandfather told the cop what had happened. And wouldn’t you know it the same thing happened again. They managed to get to the other side of the bridge, but by the time they reached the other side, the smell and the light was now gone.
I think the first time I heard this story, was the night in the car, with us driving around. I was shocked that my father had almost seen a ghost. I was young, and this scared me. Within a few minutes my father stopped on the side of the road. He was pretending he saw someone. I did not see anyone. As he got out of the car, he continued to talk to this invisible person, asking her if she needed a ride. I remember telling my mom, that I thought he was joking. However my father opens the back door of the car, and pretends that this ghost gets in. My brother really did not understand what was going on. I still maintained that my father was joking. However that soon changed as he continued to talk to the ghost. I tried to get in the front seat, but my father would not allow me, saying there wasn’t enough room. This is when I started to cry. I remember that he pulled in front of house, and was asking her if this was her house. “Oh no, it isn’t your house “then him pulling off, to find her home. In the meantime my brother and I were cowering to one side of the car, praying that this Ghost we could not see would soon be gone. We finally ended up at a road off of Groometown road, which was in walking distance of my grandmother’s house. The road was a dead end. My father stopped at the end of the road. Got out of the car and let the ghost out of the car. I remember him acting like she had disappeared when he did this. We finally pulled off, with the ghost gone. I also remember him trying to bring her back, but saying things like “oh, we were just at your house, where did you go Lydia?” My mom finally interjected, and the ghost was gone.
After writing this all out, I realized that my dad was somewhat og a dick. I joke around, with my kids sometimes, but I would never terrorize them, like my father did us that night. So yeah I wonder where I get my love of horror from. I think it is a way to remind myself that some things are not real, and that being scared sometimes is OK.