The Swamp Road Chronicles

 

"Hayride"

Swamp Road Chronicles,

Three years ago, my Uncle Randy held his annual Halloween Party for all of the family and friends. We have a large family so, with friends, there were about 80 people there, mostly kids. He went all out. We had an hour worth of spooky stories held in his "Spooky Old Barn," we had a very large bonfire with hotdogs and marshmallows and cider to drink. His Halloween parties were the exact type of traditional parties you would hope for.

 

Everyone was supposed to be in costume, and you were required to have fun, and lots of it. Uncle Randy had an old hay wagon that he used to take all of us on a hayride. He had a huge Belgian draft horse named 'Herbie' for pulling the wagon. We would sing songs and the kids would yell and throw hay on each other. It was a great time!

 

Uncle Randy and Aunt Melanie lived on Watkins Rd a few miles from Kirkersville. He would take us down Watkins Rd. and then go east on Palmer. When we reached St. Jacob's Cemetery he would always stop and tell us the legend of the 'Kinder Der Nacht', the little ghost children people would sometimes hear and see playing in the graveyard. All of we young ones would be scared and huddle together for safety.

 

After the cemetery, he would go on out to Swamp Road. As we rode up through the old swamp he would tell us all about Sally Blackstone and how she met her tragic end and how she haunted Swamp Road to that very day. After hearing that story, everyone would be totally silent and ride along behind that huge horse intently watching for Sally. I fervently wished I could see her just once and at the same time I fervently prayed that I never would.

 

My prayer was not answered, but my wish was. It was dark as the inside of a grave, with just a sliver of a moon above.

Someone said, "What's that?" and pointed out into the field. There, walking toward our wagon, was a woman dressed in a white dress! Sally! She was walking very quickly, and seemed to want to catch up with us. She held her arms out in front of her and her hands were making a grasping gesture. We all, kids and adults alike, yelled for Uncle Randy to speed up. He saw her too and snapped the reins to speed up the horse. The horse apparently became aware of the apparition also and laid its ears back, snorted loudly, and began trotting.

 

There were about 35 people on the hay wagon, but that horse was strong. We began to pull away from the ghost, but she came up into the middle of the road and pursued us with those grasping claw-like hands. I tell you, we were all scared to death. What we saw was not natural and we all sensed a deep dread of her. When we reached Route 40 we went left and Sally did not follow us off of Swamp Road.

 

Of course, it could have been a woman playing a trick on us, maybe Uncle Randy arranged it, I don't know.

But, I do know that since that night the annual Halloween Party Hayride does NOT go onto Swamp Road.

 

 

As submitted by Lacey Ward, Columbus, Ohio June 21, 2023


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