I thought I recognized the lady getting in her car across from mine. Only I remembered her as a teenager, and this woman was middle-aged. I debated whether to speak; after all, I hadn't known her well, and she probably didn't remember me at all.
But I got past my reservations and asked, "Are you L***?"
And I was right, this was the grown-up version of the girl I knew. She remembered me too, surprisingly. We talked a few minutes, just catching up, and she asked what I've been doing. I mentioned storytelling, and that soon I'd be busy with ghost stories. Her husband chimed in then, saying that where he grew up in coal country there were all kinds of ghosts; there were lots of things, he said, that happened down there.
Then his wife spoke up. "I remember when we lived on Bucket Run. It's haunted down there, all right. I heard it myself.:
Bucket Run borders the back of our property--or used to border, before we sold part of our land. And I'd heard a tale about the place myself. The lady went on, "We used to walk out the road to catch a ride to church, and it would be dark when we came back. When we passed the Fulmer place, we'd hear a baby crying, and a woman too. I heard it many times. It always scared me so bad!"
The story I heard was a bit different, or perhaps I remembered it wrong, as it was told to me about 40 years ago by my friend's aunt. She said that some men were coon-hunting on Bucket Run and that the dogs started digging and whining under the old schoolhouse that once stood there. The dogs dragged out something wrapped in a blanket; when the men unwrapped it they found it was a little dead baby. No one ever knew whose baby it was, but people always said they heard a baby crying when they passed the schoolhouse.
Was this two different stories of haunting, or the same story being remembered incorrectly by me or by the lady who told it to me? I don't know, but it was satisfying to hear confirmation of the story told to me so long ago.
Bucket Run is an abandoned road now--indeed, it has been ever since I have lived here, although I remember there was one family living along that holler for a while. I think all the old houses have fallen down or been torn down. I haven't been down there in almost ten years, and last time I was there I hardly recognized the road. But I have this story, and now I have a name for the house, and someone who remembers how it was.
I am so glad I got over myself and said hello.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.