General Commentary (May be military related) email: Kudzuacres1@juno.com
Thursday, October 30, 2003
I have never enjoyed Halloween except for a couple of yea4rs when my kids were in their early teens. We lived in an apartment building on Wiesbaden Airbase, Germany. There were six familiies on our stairwell and amazingly, everyone liked everyone.
At Halloween, we got togther and created a "haunted house" with ghosts, demons, vampires and werewolves. My son fashioned a coffin from some cardboard boxes and dressed like Dracula. When a little kid would come up the walk, he would slowly rise up from the coffin with "blood" dripping from his lips. Most of the younger kids ran away when they saw "Dracula" if they had managed to get past the "ghost" my friend Lee had fashioned from an old sheet and let slide down the wire he had strung from a third floor window to a light pole at the end of our walk.
If a child was brave enough to make it to the door, he had to reach through a dark hole to get the treat. Somethimes the treat was not a treat but some kind of disgusting goo.
Our stairwell was the most popular destination for the airbase's kids and most eventually got their treats even if they had to try several times.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Most old Army bases have ghost stories. Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas has more than its share. Ft. Leavenworth was a jumping off point for the US Western expansion and a lot of soldiers left there to never return. Many of the buildings from the 19th Century are still in use, several as living quarters for soldiers. Ft. Levenworth is also home to the Army's Command and General Staff College and about half of the Army's officers attend the almost year long course.
My friend Chuck attended the course in the early 1970's. He lived with his wife Judy and their dog Saber in the old Artillery Barracks which had been converted to familiy housing. Saber was a Doberman and possibly the meanest dog I have ever known. A visit to Chuck and Judy's meant calling ahead so they could cage the dog. Otherwise, he attacked anyone who came in the house.
The C&GSC course was 10 months long, mostly classroom work, but there were a few times when the students had to overnight for wargames.
One of those nights when Chuck was out playing games, Judy curled up in bed with a book. The old barracks were not well heated and the warmest place was the bed. A few minutes after 10:00 PM, Saber started growling. Judy told him to be quiet thinking he heard someone going down the hallway outside their front door. She had barely gotten the words out of her mouth when Saber came running into the bedroom, jumped on the bed and crawled whimpering under the covers. Nothing Judy could do would make him come out.
A few seconds after Saber jumped on the bed, Judy felt an icy chill in the room, much colder that it had been. Just as quick as it came, it left.
Judy saw a shadow on the wall outside the bedroom that looked like that of man cast by an oil burning lamp, flickering and hard to discern. She got out of bed, got her pistol and went to look in the hallway. As she neared the door, the air got colder and she lost her nerve. Saber feared no man and he was hiding under the covers. Judy got back in bed and stayed awake the rest of the night with Saber hiding in the bed next to her. As the sun was coming up, Saber jumped down and went exploring. Judy followed and checked out the house. The door was locked and chained. All the windows were locked. Nothing had been disturbed. Chuck came in for breakfast and they searched the house together. Nothing was awry.
Judy never spent another night alone in the house. They learned that there had been others who reported seeing a man's shadow on the wall of the old Barracks.
Was it a ghost, a man or Judy's imagination? Saber never saw a man, woman or child he didn't want to attack, yet something or someone scared him. Sometimes I think it was a ghost, but then I don't believe in ghosts. Do you?