Moses and Miss Oaks

Here's a little hair raising tale for you...

After a turbulant marriage, my mother divorced our step-father. I was tickled that we were moving back to our old town. Finally, I thought, we would live in a neighborhood, and not on a farm way out in the boonies! But, mother opted to rent a trailer from a close friend, and what do you know, it was located smack dab in the middle of a dirt and gravel hollow, waaaay out in the boonies. Most of the kids I went to high school with had been grade school friends, but it was long distance to call them. So, I was close enough to be in the school district, but far enough away not to be able to talk on the phone to any of them.
I was bored most of the time, and honestly miffed at the fact that I was stuck out in the country while all my friends had only to walk over to the next street to visit school mates. My brother and I played a lot of video games, and I thought I would lose my mind before the year was over! Then I met *Ann. She lived quite a way up the hollow, and she was only a little older than me, and we got along great. Ann and her mother lived in a tiny little house, that was kept neat as a pin, and Ann's grandmother lived right next door on the same property. I spent a lot of time there during the week, and made a bee-line for Ann's house after the bus dropped me off from school. Ann was sort of quiet in contrast to me, as was her mother and grandmother, so me being around was a definite source of entertainment. I'm a clown, fancy myself a comedian, and I'm always making people laugh.
One Friday, I was thoroughly pissed because I couldn't go to a friend's house. I was determined not to spend the entire weekend at home, so I called Ann. I bellyached and complained about having to stay home, and then Ann suggested I ask my mother if I could spend the night at her house. I asked, and mother gave her permission, and I was out of there!
We talked and talked, Ann's mother would peek in at us now and then, make conversation and then go back into the living room. Somehow, we got on the subject of ghosts, and I rattled off all my own personal experiences, and some other tales that I had been told, or heard about, and Ann listened with great interest. Ann then told me that the entire hollow we lived on was haunted.
"That's quite a large territory for a ghost." I replied, because the hollow was extremely long, and trailed all the way into the next two towns.
"There's more than one." Ann said.
"I'm listening." I replied.
Ann told me that in the 1930's, there had been a woman, Miss Oaks, that owned a huge house, (something like twenty rooms) and ran a make-shift home for unwanted and homeless children. She took care of children as old as 18 all the way down to infants. She found homes for them, jobs for the older ones, and some of the older children even stayed on to help her run the home. One night, a fire broke out, and in seconds, the home was engulfed in flames. Miss Oaks, and the childern scrambled to get to saftey, but tragically, seven of them, (five small children and two older ones) died in the fire.
I listened with a furrowed brow, and when Ann looked up at me with a funny expression on her face, and said that there were seven ghosts that roamed the hollow, I stared at her for a second, and then burst into laughter.
"Bulls**t!" I exclamied.
"You can ask my grandmother!" Ann said, smiling, but her eyes were wide with sincerity.
"How would she know?" I asked, "And even if I did ask her, she would back up anything you said! You're pulling my leg!"
"No I said to ask her, because she was one of the kids that got out of the fire!"
When Ann said that, my face went blank, and I apologized.
"Oh, it's okay. Even Grandma says it creeps her out too." Ann said.
"Does she remember anything? I mean about the fire?"
Ann shook her head, "No, she was too little, and she was placed in a couple's home not long after that. About six months after the fire, the couple adopted my grandma."
"Wow." I replied. It was all I could say.
"When the children were adopted, Miss Oaks would give the parents a picture of her and all the children in front of the house. My grandma still has hers, even though she can't remember any of the children in the picture, or Miss Oaks." Ann said, "I've seen the picture, and I can even show you where the house used to be."
"Oh! You gotta take me there tomorrow!" I said with excitement. Ann agreed, and sure enough in the morning, we made the long treck to where the house had stood. I don't know why, but I had envisioned so much more than just a foundation, and some rubble. I was disappointed, but the story stayed in my head, and when I got back to school on Monday, I was telling all my friends! I got mixed reactions. Some of my friends just seemed bored, others made mental notes to NEVER come out to see me, and a few seemed interested, but not as much as I was.
My enthusiams with the tale faded, and after a while, I didn't even think about it. Then one weekend, my mother allowed me to go out with some friends on the condition that I was home before midnight. That night, as me and two of my friends drove down the dark, dirt and gravel hollow, with the car stereo up loud, and the festivities of the night drawing to a close, we pulled up to the trailer where I lived, to see my mother standing on the front porch waiting for us. I could already tell I was in big trouble. My two friends made a hasty departure, and as soon as they drove off, mother had a fit, told me I was an hour late, and informed me that I was grounded. I looked at my watch, and protested that I was on time, I was even early! But after putting my ear to it, I saw that it had stopped, and though it was a good excuse, it didn't change anything. Mother stormed into the trailer, slammed the door, and went to bed. I stood there on the porch for a while, (checked to make sure she hadn't locked me out) and then went and sat on the steps.
I don't know how long I sat there. And the things that began to happen, I didn't really put together until later. But, the air seemed to change. It got colder. It had been a little nippy earlier that night, but now it began to get so cold that I pulled my sweater on, and looked around. That was when I saw someone walking up the hollow. The figure drew closer, and I could see it was a guy. For a fleeting moment, I felt my stomach flip flop, like I was on a roller coaster, and then I stood up to go inside. But this guy called to me before I made it in.
"Excuse me?" he said. I stopped and turned around.
"Could you tell me where I could find Elizabeth Payton?" he said.
"Never heard of her." I answered, and the looks of him, though I couldn't put my finger on it, gave me the heebeegeebees. The hair on the back of my neck was raised, and my arms were littered with goosebumps.
"Thank you, kindly." he replied, and continued down the hollow. I stared at him for a moment or two, and then I went inside. This guy had given me such a sensation that I looked out the window in the living room once I was inside, but was shocked to find no trace of him. My encounter with this guy disturbed my sleep, and I tossed and turned all night, even though I blamed the disturbance on the tiff that mother and me had had when I had come home.
A week later, I was at Ann's house, and all of the sudden the encounter with the mysterious guy popped into my head. Ann listened, and then an knowing smile crept over her mouth.
"What?" I frowned.
"I bet you saw Moses." she said.
"No, the guy I saw wasn't dressed in robes, and he wasn't carrying stone tablets." I laughed.
"No, Moses. He was one of the orphans that died in the fire." Ann explained. I frowned, shook my head in disbelief, and then I froze. I remembered the way it had gotten cold just before I had seen him. And how his presence made me uneasy. Then I remembered what he had been wearing. Brown pants, suspenders, a white, button-up shirt with no collar, and boots. Old fashioned boots! And then as I played the memory over and over in my mind, I remembered his face being rather pale, and his eyes looked hollow, and.....he made no sound in the gravel when he walked away. My eyes got big, and I slapped my hand over my mouth.
"What's wrong Kadara? You getting ready to scream?" Ann asked, still smiling.
"He was just a creepy guy, he wasn't one of those..."
"Ghosts?" Ann finished.
"He was not!" I shouted, but I couldn't help that even I was beginning to think this guy was the ill-fated Moses, that Ann was talking about, "He was just some guy that got lost. He was looking for someone. Some woman named....Payton. Elizabeth Payton." I said.
The knowing smile faded from Ann's face. She frowned, and now I was smiling.
"Told you! He was just a guy." I said.
"Well, I know how to solve this one." Ann said, and she literally drug me by the arm, next door to her grandmother's house. Once there, Ann told her grandmother about the guy that I had seen, and asked her to get out the group picture of Miss Oaks and the children.
"You better sit down, Kadara." Ann said. I rolled my eyes, and took a seat on the sofa. Ann's grandmother returned from her room a moment later, with a shoe box, and took a seat to the right of me. Ann sat on the left. I watched as Ann's grandmother sifted through the box, and I caught glimpses of photos of Ann's grandmother as a teen, and as a young woman. Then her hand pulled a yellowed, black and white photo from the shoe box, and I sat closer as Ann's grandmother pointed out who was who in the photo.
"And this is Moses..." she said. I immediately got cold. I reached over and grabbed Ann's wrist. My eyes were huge, and for a moment, I found it hard to breath.
"That must be him. Is that who you saw?" Ann asked. But I couldn't even talk.
"Yep, that's him." she said after looking at my face, "He's the one people see the most." Ann's grandmother said.
I took the photo, and stared hard at the young man in the picture. There was no way around it. The guy I had talked to was the same one in the picture. I put my hand over my thumping heart, and handed the picture back to Ann's grandmother.
"If you were too small to have remembered the children, or Miss Oaks, how do you know who is who?" I asked Ann's grandmother.
"Miss Oaks wrote names and ages on the back. I also met one of the other survivors about three years ago, and she was ten when I got there, and she remembers the fire and all the children. She's told me a lot."
"Incredible." was all that I could utter.
"This survivor that I met says that Miss Oaks was very close to Moses," she said, pointing at the young man again, "He was one of the first babies that came to her home, and he stayed to help her even when he was grown." Ann's grandmother said, "He was like a son to Miss Oaks."
Ann and me both were completely absorbed in what her grandmother was saying. But there was just one more piece of the puzzle that had not been put in yet. And then, as if Ann's grandmother read my mind, she placed the last piece for me.
"Miss Oaks was what they considered an old maid. She was in her late fourties before she was even married."
"Really..." I said, my voice trailing off.
"Oh yes," Ann's grandmother continued, " and when she married Mr. Payton, she carried Moses's hankercheif with her, so she would feel like he was there with her."
I frowned, and cleared my throat, and asked the last thing I needed to know.
"One more thing. What was Miss Oaks' first name?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer. Without hesitation, Ann's grandmother replied;

*Ann's real name withheld.

DAMN! This story is still in here? WOW! This was one of the first stories I ever posted on here. Cool... The key word to this post is [b]tale[/b] Let me explain....

While some of the details of this story are true, I used my own experiences and some I had heard, and actual situational circumstances about me and my family to develop this into a short story. It is one that will appear in a book I am writing called, [i]101 Ghost Stories[/i]. I'll start by telling you what is true.

1. There was a woman that ran a home for orphaned and unwanted children in the 1930's on the hollow that I used to live in.
2. There was a huge fire that broke out and killed seven children.
3. The hollow was haunted.
4. I did have interactions with ghosts on that hallow.
5. Elizabeth Payton really existed, and she was the woman that ran the home.
6. True is the info about moving from the boonies, living in the trailer in BFE, getting in trouble because I was late.
7. Ann, her mother and grandmother are all real, and so was the info about where they lived.
8. The ruins of the home still stand.

Now, what isn't true.

1. Ann's grandmother was not one of the orphans.
2. Moses is not real.
3. And my encounter with Moses was not real.

Now, [b]this[/b] is what really happened. No story here, just facts. (Just the facts, ma'am...)

I did have several encounters with the ghost children on Buffalo Creek Road. But no where near as elaborate as this story, and in all truth, I only caught sight of one, for about two full minutes, in Ann's backyard.
When the events first began, I didn't even realize that it was paranormal activity. I thought someone was playing tricks on my brother and me. And these things never seemed to happen at our home while my mother was home. (She usually didn't get home until about six pm.) We would hear someone knock on the door, and open it to find no one there. We'd hear someone hit the trailer, and go check it out just to find nothing. Then, it hit a new high when my mother went out of town and left me and my best friend alone at our home. (My brother spent the night at a friend's house.) We were sitting in the living room, and all the sudden we heard something squeaking in my mother's room. Faint at first, but then it got louder. Confused, my best friend and I cautiously walk down the hall and listen at my mother's bedroom door. Someone was jumping on the bed. You could hear it plain as day. When we heard giggling, my friend flipped out, and I immediately pushed the door open.
Yep, you guessed it....nothing.
We kept hearing this all night. Jumping on the bed, giggling, someone knocking on the door, someone hitting the know, just pranks...childish pranks. We even tried to record it on my tape recorder, but didn't get anything. Then we'd hear it again if I turned the tape recorder off!
I finally told Ann about all of this. That's when she told me about Buffalo Creek. The reaction to the story was real! That's exactly what I did! I didn't believe her. Ann was also the one that showed me the ruins of the home. That part was true too. I started poking around, and asking people if they had ever heard of ghost stories on that road. And for a long time, I came up empty handed. Then one day at school I was at lunch and was asking about Buffalo Creek, and one of the girls at our table said she had heard about Buffalo Creek and knew the story very well. I asked her how, and she said her grandmother had been one of the orphans.
"I would kill if I could interview her!" I said. But this girl, I think her name was Crystal, (?? Not sure...) said that her grandmother was (ugly word here, sorry!) [i]real[/i] predjudice. So me coming to interview her would not go over well. I asked if she could do it for me. She said she would.
Now, I was waiting on pins and needles, because I was determined to find as much info on this as I could. But Crystal seemed to avoid me in the halls, (no, she wasn't as narrow minded as her grandmother, she just knew I wanted something from her, and she didn't have it fast enough and I was impatient.), and only made small talk when she saw me. But nothing about the interview.
I go to spend the night at Ann's house one evening, and as usual, we stayed up late, you know, girl stuff, talking, gossiping, all that rot. Ann and her family were also true to character. But when we got ready to go to bed, I was assuming that we would sleep in the same room. Instead, I was given a very small room at the back of the house. I thought that was odd, but some people are just really private, I guess. It was okay with me. So, halfway through the night, I am awakened by this soft sort of boing boing boing sound... I woke up, and I listened, and then I sat up and tried to follow the sound. It was coming from the back of the house. So I looked out the window. What I saw confused me. It was a little girl about three or four, dressed in a little sun outfit(Ruffled panties, and a little smock like top), all white, little boots, bright white blonde hair, and she had one of those big rubber bouncing balls. I remember the ball was black. I looked over at the digital clock in the room, and it was like after four in the morning. I thought this kid was just ready to get a jump on Saturday morning, so I put on my shoes, and crept out to go find her, and bring her inside, so we could see if she knew where she lived, and if not, call the police.
When I got the back of the house, this little kid giggles at me when she sees me, and it scared me to death! It wasn't because she looked scarey, or had an evil demenor, but...I had heard that sound before. In my mother's bedroom! Despite that fact that I was scared to death, I asked her if she was lost. She turned around and ran into the woods behind Ann's house. I started feeling like I was open to every evil spooky thing on the planet, and I hurried inside, got back into bed, and slept with the covers over my head.
I woke up at like 7:30 am the next day, and I put on my shoes, and walked out the front door, and looked in the back of the house. I got another dose of the white hot chill bumps when I saw that there was a barbed wire fence behind Ann's house. I hadn't been able to see it at night. I had no idea it was there. It was rusted to a dull brown color, and sort of melded in with the trees and sticks in the back of the house. That little girl had ran right through it, completely unscathed.
The VERY following Monday, I saw Crystal. She not only brought me the tape of her talking to her grandmother, (Regular audio tape) I got that, [i]and[/i] a very badly perserved picture of this Miss Elizabeth Oaks, and a porchful of children ranging in ages from late teens to infancy. The part about the names and ages on the back of the photos was true too, but I am not sure about Ms. Oaks sending one with every child that was adopted.
Now, I couldn't wait to crack into all this data, so I skipped lunch, and sat outside listening to the tape and staring at the photo. I was literally looking at each face, completely mezmerized. It was fascinating . Then I saw, in the bottom row of children, a little white blonde headed girl, with a pair of overalls on, and little boots. Added to that, she had her trusty, black, rubber ball at her side.

I have since then lost all contact with Ann. This happened when I was like....17. (Had to do the math! LOL!) So it's been some time ago. I have no idea if those children still haunt that area, but my story is a mild one compared to some of the things that I have heard. But some things you can tell have been clearly nothing more than fabrications. There are a few stories about a young ghost girl. (There are about a million stories about a young ghost girl, so making one up isn't that hard! LOL!) And there is one about two little boys. But only bits and pieces. There is a young man that was supposed to have been scene, and stories about screaming echoing through the holllow at the same hour the children were to have died. I never saw the boys, the young girl, and unfortunately, I never met a ghost named Moses. But I do know a little girl that could run through barbed wire work me up at four in the morning.
Since all my friends lived in 'town' so to speak, no one I talk to from that area can give me an update as to the paranormal activity that does or doesn't go on there to this day. If I go back home, (not that I have any plans to.) I will take a camera, and go to the site of the old orphanage, and take some photos. Perhaps we'll get more than just pictures of ruins. If we do, I'll post them up here.
Best wishes,