For years there have always been rumors about the witch that had been hung in Mt. Olive cemetery. Her name was Mary Jane Hendrickson and whether or not she was a witch, or just some old woman that was slightly eccentric, well, the jury is still out on that one.The dates of her life and death are a bit sketchy as well, no birth date is recorded but her death was recorded as- 3/3/1898 72y, 5m, 11d, so that gives a little insight into when she was born, the year at least. Many tales have been spun about the witch of Mt.Olive Cemetery; no one really knows which ones are true. I have heard rumors of the woman in the white dress, with the white German Sheppard, the eye in the muddy waters that gathered above her grave, and the unfortunate souls who have died in tragic accidents after defiling her final resting place. Are these all urban legends, or is there some truth to them? I can’t say for sure because I don’t know these people first hand, and can’t speculate on the validity of their stories. All I can say is that I personally have never known anyone who died as a result of pissing on any graves. I do know of a guy, an ex lover of mine, that put one of the broken head stones in the trunk of his car and had horribly bad luck for three straight months until he returned the head stone. Was this coincidence, or was the witch’s ghost exacting her revenge for his crime against her burial spot? We may never know.
One encounter that I can say I did have a firsthand experience with, is something that I don’t think I will soon forget. It is something that will forever be with me, letting me know that there are forces out there beyond what we know to be reality. There may or may not be life after death, perhaps it was something demonic, or just an echo of what once was. Whatever it was, was strong, and powerful, and pissed as hell.
Josh, Kyle, Chris and I were all looking for a good place to get trashed one night. Our parents were all home, well Kyle had his own place but after the last time we gathered for our little night of drugs and drinking, my friends and I weren’t the only things that got trashed. Kyle said a repeat of that night was absolutely out of the question. Josh suddenly had the great idea of going to the cemetery and having our little bash there. I was up for just about anything but I don’t think Chris was sold on the idea, Kyle was indifferent; he’d never been there before, and didn’t believe in ghosts. Chris tried to be skeptical but he was scared. He’d heard the stories too and the whole way down he swore that he “felt” something. At one point he said he had a horrible feeling that once we got out of the van, none of us would be coming back. What happened wasn’t all that dramatic, but I have to wonder if it was a foreshadowing of what was to come.
It was almost eleven when we reached the graveyard. We parked the van and stumbled out of it, laughing and joking, three of us already well past drunk. Kyle stayed sober to be the designated driver and voice of reason but after an hour in the graveyard he had given in and decided to join the festivities. We drank beers and Chris brought a bottle of whiskey, and then we passed around a few joints. The night dragged on, I have no idea how long we were there but time seemed to stand still. I don’t know who suggested it but at some point we decided it would be fun to explore the woods. Over the fence that surrounded the cemetery we climbed, the electricity long since been turned off, the box broken and the wires no longer charged. The trees that surrounded us looked as haunted as the graves and there was a strange sound that echoed throughout the night sky. I wasn’t sure what it was, some type of bird most likely but it sounded freaky, monstrous, evil, and slightly alarming. I think that Chris’s fear was starting to rub off on me and I became paranoid, looking behind me constantly thinking that something wicked was lurking in the darkness. I was about to suggest turning back when Josh suddenly shouted that he found something cool. He wanted us all to come and have a look so like a bunch of lemmings of course we followed him to a large clearing in the woods where we came across what looked like an abandoned well. It was maybe two feet off the ground, circular and made of bricks that looked old and decrepit; but of course this was in the black of night and the only light that we had to show us anything was the light from the full moon, peeking through the bony trees that entombed us. Josh leaned over the well and yelled down into the depths of it, I don’t know if it was supposed to echo or not, but it didn’t. It was empty, lifeless, and dead like the rest of the forest. I wasn’t impressed by the finding but Chris and Josh both seemed to be getting a kick out of finding the thing, as if it held some magical significance. They lit up another joint and both boys began to dance drunkenly around the well, laughing and cheering as if they were pagans performing an ancient ritual. Kyle and I sat down in the grass and reeds a little ways away from them and started to make out. He opened his mouth on top of mine and I slipped my tongue inside and he slipped his hand down the front of my pants. I was so into what he was doing to me that I really wasn’t paying attention to my two friends who were prancing around a dried up old well like a couple of fools. I could hear them, they were still laughing and I think at one point Chris started to sing something. I heard the shattering of glass and I think one of them tossed a beer bottle off into the foliage somewhere, but other than that I really didn’t give a damn what they were doing. My concentration was suddenly broken though when the forest became deathly quiet. The laughing and the singing had stopped the sounds of their sneakers hitting dried leaves and twigs were gone; the woods sounded empty. Kyle and I pulled apart and the only thing that we could hear was the beating of our own hearts.
“Where did they go?” I asked, looking to Kyle for some kind of reassurance.
“I don’t know.” He stood up and took a few uncertain steps towards the well. “You don’t suppose that they fell in do you?”
I bit my bottom lip as my heart leapt into my throat. “Oh God Kyle, how deep do you think that well is?”
We looked at each other for a split second then we both ran to the well and peered down into the inky black darkness that filled it; if they were down there, there was no way we could see them without flash lights.
“Josh? Chris?” I practically screamed into the well, “Can either of you hear me? Are you down there?”
I jumped suddenly as a strange voice seemed to echo up out of the well, repeating my words… “Josh? Chris?” Then we heard what can only be described as a cackle that reminded me of the wicked witch of the west. Kyle and I both took a step back, away from the well, our eyes wide with disbelief. I grabbed Kyle and held onto him. “What’s happening?” I asked.
He held me close against him, “I have no idea baby… just stay close.”
He didn’t have to tell me, I had no intention of letting him go, for fear of losing him to the insane creature that seemed to linger at the bottom of the well. Just then, we heard what sounded like laughter and singing again, the voices were unmistakable. Josh and Chris suddenly appeared, as though they stepped out of the thick white mist that was beginning to cover the forest floor. Kyle and I stared at them as they danced joyfully around the well; oblivious to the fact that anything was amiss. The two boys finally stopped their tom foolery and rejoined us, all smiles and still drunk, but they were surprised at our confused and slightly frightened expressions.
“What’s up guys?” Josh said as he grabbed another beer.
“What happened to you?” Kyle asked him.
Josh shrugged, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, where did you go?” Kyle explained. “You and Chris, you disappeared. One minute you were here, the next you were gone and then just like that you were back again.”
“We didn’t go anywhere.” Chris said. “We’ve been here the whole time you two have been sitting over there sucking face.”
“That was thirty minutes ago.” I said suddenly, beginning to shake. “I walked over to the well and yelled down it. I screamed your names and you never answered and even weirder we heard this voice, this evil sounding laugh like a crazy old woman.”
Chris snickered at my story, “You’re stoned dude. We have been here the whole time. You never screamed anything and there ain’t no crazy old lady here, just a crazy kid and his boyfriend making out in the woods.”
Kyle shook his head, “Sess isn’t crazy…” He said soberly, “I heard it too.”
Josh looked at Chris and they both burst out laughing. “Come on guys.” Josh said, “You’re jerking us around…right?”
I shook my head slowly. Apparently they both realized how serious Kyle and I were and how scared we looked. Josh shoved his hands in his pockets and stood there staring at the ground, kind of kicking the sticks and leaves around with the toe of his sneaker. Chris shrugged some and looked away, back towards the graveyard where we’d left the van. An awkward silence fell over our small group as everyone considered what each had seen, or not seen. Josh and Chris weren’t ready to believe that Kyle and I had seen anything. Chris told us that we’d drunk too much, or smoked too much, and let the wild stories of the place play games with our minds. Kyle considered it possible but I was not convinced that a drug induced, over active imagination was to blame.
“I want go.” I said suddenly, moving closer to Kyle and wrapping my arms around his waist. He held me protectively against him. It was comforting, but I was still frightened, and I just wanted to go home. “Please.” I begged the others. “Can’t we just leave now?”
“Yeah…” Kyle looked to the others. “Let’s just get out of here guys.” He said to them. “This place is getting creepy.”
“I thought you didn’t believe in ghosts and witches.” Chris snorted a laugh as he looked at Kyle.
“I believe in what I see and experience for myself.” Kyle told him. “I’m not claiming that I saw or heard a ghost. I’m just telling you both what Sess and I saw, and whatever it was, it freaked me out.”
Chris shrugged. “Fine, whatever dude, we’ll leave if you want to.” Chris sighed in defeat and started back towards the graveyard, his shoulder slumped and his steps heavy. He kicked at random things as we walked and mumbled under his breath. Josh was right beside him, the ever present lap dog that he was, following Chris where ever he went, always at his heels and eager to take whatever scraps were thrown at him. I picked up on bits of their conversation as Kyle and I followed behind them. Mostly they were annoyed with me and saying that Kyle should have never brought me along. I wasn’t offended in the least. I knew that I had ruined their plans for the night. They had more than just smoking and drinking planned though they never said anything; Kyle, and I just knew because we pretty much had the same thing in mind.
When we finally got back to the graveyard and to the van, I was relieved to see that everything was just as we had left it. I’d heard stories in the past about guys finding their tires slashed or windows smashed in. My heart was still racing though as my imagination conjured images of the four of us laid out in the graveyard with our entrails in neat little piles beside us. I imagined the van not starting, or some wild, hideous creature snatching us from within the darkness of the woods. Kyle must of felt me shivering because he squeezed my ass reassuringly. “Calm down Hun.” He said to me, “It’s just a graveyard.”
‘Famous last words,’ I thought to myself as we all piled into the van.
Kyle fished around in his pockets for the keys. He was taking his time, not paying attention to anything or anyone else. I was getting fidgety in the passenger seat beside him, I really wanted to get out of there, but I didn’t want to seem like a pussy either so I kept my mouth shut.
Chris and Josh were in the back seat being their normal selves, talking and laughing, knocking back what was left of the booze we’d bought. They didn’t seem upset anymore that we were leaving, but the incident in the woods seemed to have slipped their minds as well. Honestly, I was the only one who seemed uneasy now. I started to feel a little foolish that I had allowed myself to get so worked up over something that I wasn’t even sure really happened. I started to wonder if maybe the others were right and I had imagined the whole thing. I slouched down in my seat some, putting one foot on the dash. Kyle gave me a disapproving look but I ignored him. He shook his head and sighed then started to back the van out of the cemetery and onto the dirt road behind us.
I started to say something then thought better of it and clamped my mouth shut. There was no point in causing more drama so I sat there in silence, relieved that we were finally leaving and about to put this night behind us.
The road before us was hidden in the blackness of the night. Thick groves trees lined the narrow road, their limbs dropping down as if they were reaching for us. The night seemed to have gotten murkier while we were in the woods. I could barely make out the fence around the cemetery; the head stones looked like misshapen creatures that were standing about, ready to attack anyone that dared to enter their domain. Kyle switched on the head lights but they did little to cut through the darkness.
I was jolted forward suddenly as one of the boys in the back kicked my seat, laughing at having startled me. I turned around, angry, ready to bite someone’s head off when I suddenly froze. “What’s up?” Josh asked me. Chris giggled.
“Look.” I whispered. I pointed out the back window and both boys turned to see what had startled me so bad.
“What are we looking at?” Chris asked.
“You don’t see it?” I questioned him.
He shrugged then looked harder, straining to see what I was staring out. The mist had risen up around the van, spilling over and rolling onto the dirt road. It crept up alongside us, spreading itself out, and licking the sides of the windows. Somewhere within the mist a figure began to emerge. It was hard to make out at first but slowly, bit by bit, the figure began to take form.
“What the hell is that?” Kyle whispered as he too turned to see what we were all staring at.
I could make out at first what looked like a head as if someone were staring out from within the thick fog that surrounded us. There were no facial features at first. Gradually the arms and then a torso appeared. The figure had a very petite frame, defiantly female. There were no legs that I could see because the figure was draped in some kind of long gown that seemed to almost melt into the mist itself. The figure moved closer to the back of the van, almost floating and as it closed in on us, we saw it stretch its arms out towards us. Long, bony fingers scratched across the glass of the far window, making an eerie screeching noise that reminded me of Freddy Kruger, The villain from “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
“Move the van!” I shouted, “Take off now!” I turned and starred pleadingly at Kyle
“Do it!” Josh chimed in, “Go!”
Kyle nodded as he turned around again and fumbled with the gear shift. He stepped on the breaks, casting a reddish hue over the fog as well as the ghostly figure. I gasped as I saw the thing lunge towards us, drenched in the light from the breaks as though she were suddenly covered in dark red blood. She opened what I guess were her eyes though they didn’t look like any eyes that I had ever seen before. Pitch black orbs floating in the phantom face, a face that save for the ghastly eyes, revealed no other facial features what so ever! The eyes grew wider, nearly swallowing her face entirely and as she closed in on us, we all heard a terrible, high pitched scream that sounded both furious and crazy at the same time. Kyle hit the gas and the van lurched forward violently. The boys in the back seat were thrown forward, hitting the seats in front of them. Josh cried out in pain as he was slammed back against his seat again and his left hand struck the window. We were flying down the road at unsafe speeds, swerving all over the place. Kyle came dangerously close to driving into the ditch that ran along both sides of the road.
“Watch out!” Chris screamed at him.
“Do you wanna drive?!’ Kyle shouted back.
“Just try not to kill us.” Chris snapped. He turned around and looked behind us again. The apparition was still there, keeping pace with the van. Her angry howls permeated the fog and shook the glass. I slid closer to Kyle and literally pressed my body against his.
“Hang on guys.” He said as he gave the van more gas. “I’m gonna get us out of here.”
The trees whipped passed us; gravel flew up from the road and struck the windows with hard, loud, little pings!
We came to a small dip in the road and the van literally soared over it smacking down hard on the other side. I was terrified that the tires were going to blow out when he hit but they didn’t, never the less, I closed my eyes and buried my face against Kyle’s shoulder.
It seemed to me like we drove down that narrow, winding road for hours but in reality it was less than five minutes. Finally, Kyle patted my leg and told me to open my eyes again. We had cleared the wooded area and we were coming upon the main highway that we had crossed earlier. The other side of the road was paved, there were no trees obstructing our view, and the rows of small, country homes were lit up like jack-o-lanterns along the road side. The light from these homes cut through the gloom and lit our way.
A thick fog had been following us the entire way down that road but as we crossed over into civilization again the fog dispersed and went back to where ever it was from. The ghastly wails of the spirit could no longer be heard as we were now far from the cemetery and all its secrets. We each breathed a breath of a relief as we relaxed some in our seats. The night looked peaceful now, not nearly as imposing before, and the bright, shinning moon above us was a welcomed sight.
It didn’t take us long to get back to town, maybe twenty minutes at the most. Kyle said he was getting low on gas and needed to make a quick stop. We pulled into the gas station and everyone jumped out of the van. I was thirsty and eager to get myself a soda. Chris wanted a pack of smokes and Josh said he was starting to get a little hungry. Kyle pumped the gas while the rest of us went inside and Kyle came in shortly after to pay for the gas. With our arms full of snacks and drinks we headed back to the van. Chris came up the rear of the van, headed for the sliding door when he stopped suddenly, his eyes were wide, and his face had gone white.
“What’s wrong?” Kyle asked him.
Chris pointed to the back of the van. “What do you make of this?”
We all walked around to look at what Chris was pointing at; I must have gasped because Kyle quickly gripped my hand. On the back of the van were claw marks scratched across the paint up to the back window. It looked like an animal, a large dog or something around that size, had clawed up the paint. Kyle ran his finger over the grooves and shivered. We knew that no animal had done this, but we also knew that no one in their right mind would believe us if we told them what had actually happened. We got back into the van and Kyle started the engine. We drove back to Kyle’s place in silence, the shock of the evening starting to wear off just a little. Over time I think we all started to doubt what had happened to us that night; that is until we looked at the scratches on Kyle’s van again. They were a subtle reminder of our experience, and a very clear warning that whoever or whatever resides in that cemetery, did not want us there.
© 2016 Chance McGinnis