By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
Tis the season to get scared. Halloween is a time we get weird and spooky. Some folks are not into the scary stuff. No ghosts. No zombies. No vampires. No werewolves.
I think some people were forever traumatized by Stephen King when he introduced us to Pennywise, the evil, child-eating clown. I talk to people who are so afraid of clowns that they have family members watch movies ahead of them, so they may be warned if there are any clowns in the film they propose to observe. One coworker goes into hysterics when she is confronted with a clown, so scared that she can be reduced to tears if tormented by a clown, even if she knows that a coworker is in the clown suit.
Remember the clown scare of previous years? Reports of clowns showing up on roadsides, in isolated places, standing and staring at people as they passed by in their cars. In a world of human trafficking and child abduction, an unknown person lurking around in a clown suit would precipitate a full-blown manhunt. Many times, the clown would appear on a roadside or out in a field, cause a fright, and then run off or disappear into the night. Social media would be full of accounts of “clown sightings,” and good old boys would report that they grabbed their guns, jumped in their vehicles, and attempted to run Bozo down, usually to have him disappear before their eyes. Sightings of wayward clowns popped up from across the country all the way down to Big Cove. Eventually, clown sightings slowed and finally stopped. Or, did they?
A few years ago, the tourism office and the Village collaborated on a Halloween festival. The Village was decorated up and featured some of our great Cherokee legends like Spearfinger and Uktena. While the event was in the planning process, several people warned the planners against using the facility, mainly being up there at night. Folks were saying that strange things would happen up at the Village and the Mountainside Theatre, especially in the old dormitories. Unusual noises, vaporous apparitions, and feelings of being touched when no one’s there are some of the reports. People taken on tours of the dormitories would tell of seeing a ball in the center of a room, and when they walked away, they could hear the ball bouncing around the room. When they would come back to look, the ball would be in another part of the room. During the Halloween festival, one of the festival workers related that he was talking to a man who had walked up to his station with a little girl. The little girl was silent, and after talking to the gentleman for a few moments, the worker asked the man who that little girl was. The man looked startled and said, “What little girl?” Both men looked down beside him. The little girl had vanished.
Stories of ghostly visions and haunted places abound on the Boundary. Many homes and apartment dwellers tell of footsteps in their hallways, doors opening and closing on their own, tapping on windows, shadowy, hulking figures in their bedrooms. There are many tales of the ghostly lights floating, and sometimes chasing people in the hills. Reports of hearing a baby cry near a tunnel on the Parkway in a lonely and deserted area. Sightings of giant, hairy beasts walking on two legs through our mountains making blood-curdling screams in the night have been reported.
Halloween is a time for chills and thrills. Very much like an amusement park ride, it is a time that allows us to get a thrill and a fright from the safety of our healthy lives. So, enjoy the moment. Dress up in your favorite “look,” spooky or not, and celebrate this time of suspension of disbelief and community gathering. And, please be careful while you are clowning around.