By Rick Hinton
There are mysteries in southern Kentucky … secrets not obtained easily, yet secrets all the same, just inside the range of shadows. As with any small town across the country, some things are best left unsaid. Jamestown, Kentucky, however, became my point of origination in the study of “things” that go bump in the night.
When the Indianapolis grandkids invaded tiny Jamestown for a weekend, including the tiny house of my grandparents, mirth and mayhem ensued. The mission became keeping all the kids out of the small living quarters as long as possible. That meant we could play outside long after darkness fell. The solitary streetlight at the crest of Sunset Drive (formerly Mud Road) weakly illuminated the front yard and little else. The backyard stretched downward into the blackness of a field. Grandpa Arnold always told us not to go into the backyard, and certainly not to climb the fence into the field. “Why?” we would ask. He would smile and say nothing. I would stop in that backyard after a bout of catching fireflies in a mason jar and stare off into the black. I always felt “something” was watching me.
After my grandfather Arnold died, my grandmother Lucille sold some of the land. My aunt June got the tobacco field next to the house. That tobacco field had been a challenge for my grandfather in keeping the grandkids, and their dirt clod battles, out of. It was a losing proposition. She put in a single wide mobile home until she could build a house. That solved some of the issues with sleeping accommodations when the grand kids visited.
One night, with several of us spread out across a pull-out sofa/bed, I couldn’t sleep. Too wound up from being a kid, I guess. I distinctively heard footsteps climbing up the outside metal steps, and the door opening, making their way to the kitchen. Drawers opened and I could hear silverware rattling. I raised up enough to look into the large mirror on the wall behind the sofa that overlooked the kitchen. The noise continued as the streetlight illuminated the room, yet, there was no one there! I buried my head into the covers and waited for morning.
My mother was born with a caul (a piece of the amniotic sac) over her face. This happens to less than one in every 80,000 babies. It is referred to as “born with a veil.” It’s not just a Kentucky thing, yet they seem to embrace it as a sign of good luck … or, as the superstition goes … one associated with supernatural gifts, including psychic abilities. My mom always believed it. Who am I to disagree?
There is one particular story my mom always told. It stuck with me then and continues to this day. Maybe she broke the vow of silence — to keep inside what best needs to be kept silent. Maybe this veil upon the face had something to do with what happened to her? I don’t know. Yet, what I do know, was that it had everything to do with me eventually exploring the shadowy realms of ghosts and spirits in the future. It takes time to answer all questions….