Hunting with the Dead

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I live in Central Arkansas just north west of Searcy. My family has called this area around Mount Pisgah home since the early 1880s. So naturally my family has a strong relationship to the land.

We own about 600 acres on mount Pisgah and surrounding flat ground good for row crop farming. And being poor southern farmers all the back to my great grandfather we’ve been avid trappers and hunters just to pay winter time bills and put supper on the table.
My grandfather and my father always ran a lengthy traplines on neighbors land. So when I was old enough to be trusted with a dog and a 22 rifle I started coon & squirrel hunting for meat and hides to sell.

My grandfather and my dad always avoided ghost stories. My dad would give a growl and leave the house if someone started to tell one. My grandfather would shut the individual up with a loud cursing. So naturally I thought they didn’t like ghost stories cause they we’rent true.

Mount Pisgah being 1500 acres several people own a piece of it. I was hunting Ms. Michelle’s property one cold winter day with my mountain curr Bob. It was a good day my knap sack had several squirrels and a couple of rabbits. It was getting late and being still about 5 miles from home I decided to radio in on my walky talky to tell my family I’d be in home by breakfast with hopefully a few raccoons and my mixed bag.

As darkness fell I put my coon lamp on my cap that it’s battery pack had hung on my belt all day. Bob for dumb squirrel dog was a fantastic coon dog. I had shot and skinned four coons but 10 o’clock.

The wind started to howl furiously and we stopped our coon hunt to seek shelter. And being raised on this land is know everything. I remembered Ms. Michelle’s son David had a small log cabin about quarter mile north of my location. Myself and Bob arrived there happy to see the cabin. We built a fire in the stone fireplace that was actually part of the original cabin built before the civil war and was burned during a skirmish in 1863.

As we warmed ourselves we heard what sounded like cannon fire and musket shots. I swore it was just freezing rain and hail. But it grew louder till it sounded just outside. Bob coward in a corner as though scared for his life. The clouds had cleared and in the moonlight we seen that skirmish that happened back in 1863.

It was horrifying to see these ghost just outside the window fighting a war that for them never ended. The Confederates were chasing the federal troops across this battle ground. Men weren’t soilders they seemed more like animals as they killed each other again savagely. I watched frozen with fear till a rifle ball smashed the window.

I dropped the floor and waited for the battle to cease. But I just got louder. I heard what sounded like rifle ball hitting the cabin. I was sure by the way this sounded that a rifle ball shot more than 150 years ago was going to kill me. I grabbed my rifle and Bob that was cowering in the corner still and made a dash for our lives. As I was running it suddenly became silent.

I turned back to see the cabin buring as if it had been set on fire from the outside with torches. I ran with home and woke my dad and told him what I had seen. I told me to sit by the wood stove for a bit. He called my grandfather, when he arrived they sat me down and said they had both seen this same occurrence and that the cabin would be burned and two torches laying beside it.

That morning my grandfather drove us to Ms. Michelle’s property and we hiked to the cabin up the old wagon road. And the cabin was burnt with the stone fireplace and chimney being the only thing standing. In front of the cabin lay two smoldering torches.

I was 14 at the time, I’m 23 now and the Cannon’s roar and musket fire along with the sights of brother killing brother in 1863 are still clear in my mind as when I saw it.

David has rebuilt the old cabin twice both times burning and once with police investigation with report saying two torches used to start the fire left in front of the cabin.

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