Haunt­ed: The Blan­chard Ceme­tery

ERIC NEHER

Eric lives in Blan­chard with his wife and son. He is a con­tribut­ing author to Ozark Farm and Neigh­bors as well has hav­ing sev­er­al flash fic­tion sto­ries pub­lished.

There is a town just thir­ty min­utes south of Okla­homa City called Blan­chard. A small com­mu­ni­ty of rough­ly 8400 peo­ple that epit­o­mizes the slow retreat of what once was with what must now be. A rare place where the past and the future nes­tle com­fort­ably togeth­er in its archa­ic seclu­sion as Old Glo­ry proud­ly waves in the mid­dle of the Main Street and Broad­way inter­sec­tion. Fur­ther to the east on the cor­ner sits a Sub­way restau­rant next to its neigh­bor, the bar­ber shop, each shar­ing the same brick veneered front that har­bors a dozen oth­er stores.

 

It is just one and a half miles north of that point that you will find the noto­ri­ous­ly haunt­ed Blan­chard Ceme­tery. This pop­u­lar rest­ing place for the dead was estab­lished in 1917 on a 20-acre lot right off of High­way 76 and can con­sis­tent­ly be found on any of the many top ten lists of the most haunt­ed places in Okla­homa to vis­it. What is it about this place that leads Ama­zon sup­plied ghost hunters to dri­ve hun­dreds of miles to inves­ti­gate this loca­tion? Well, as one of those hunters who was unafraid to pur­chase the two hun­dred dol­lar ghost kit, I am pre­pared to try and answer that ques­tion.

ERIC NEHER

 

Let us first con­sid­er what con­sti­tutes mak­ing a place haunt­ed; rumors most­ly, which the ceme­tery has in dead man hand aces. As you enter under the rust­ed let­tered arch, you will first notice the lean­ing oaks scat­tered here and there. It is between them that a shad­owy fig­ure (it is said) can often be seen walk­ing in a dark trench coat, giv­ing an occa­sion­al wave to what­ev­er hor­ri­fied audi­ence is there at the time. To some this friend­ly appari­tion has even appeared regaled in a nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry top hat, casu­al­ly lean­ing against one of the larg­er oaks as a trans­par­ent knife switch­es from hand to hand. Some say it is a man who once took it upon him­self to be the care­tak­er of the ceme­tery when it first opened, whose fam­i­ly, over the years, were placed in a sec­tion he had pur­chased, and that he still guards the rest­ing place of his fall­en kin.

 

And if you by chance hear the anguished cry of a small child, you are not alone, many peo­ple have report­ed see­ing a lit­tle girl weav­ing in and out of the stone mark­ers.  It was dur­ing a spring tem­pest that she walked mys­te­ri­ous­ly out of her house and into the night, obliv­i­ous to the tor­ren­tial beat­ing of the rain as it slashed against her face.  The Washita Riv­er raged as she con­tin­ued her jour­ney with its white-capped cur­rent rac­ing, an obe­si­ty feed­ing on the many help­less washouts that breached the area. Per­haps it was one those incom­ing sup­plies that caught the lit­tle girl unaware, seiz­ing her with a con­stric­tor strength as it car­ried her to the riv­er. It is unclear what hap­pened that night but what is clear is that two days lat­er her life­less body was found washed up on the bank two miles away.  Now, swathed in her bur­ial robe this young girl can be seen traips­ing through the yard, for­ev­er search­ing for some­thing that she will nev­er find.

 

A few hun­dred feet beyond the gate and to the left lies sec­tion 2. It is there that mys­te­ri­ous blue light has been seen hov­er­ing over one of the old­er fam­i­ly plots. Per­haps a lost soul who missed their chance to go through the ethe­re­al door­way or sim­ply chose not to.

 

These claims have all been repeat­ed by the many peo­ple who had decid­ed to for­go an evening of Net­flix binge-watch­ing, only to sum­mon up the courage to brave the unknown. Spir­i­tu­al fron­tiers­man, able to turn a blind eye to what is known and plun­der on into the super­nat­ur­al dark­ness. As a fel­low wan­der­er I, with the help of my two very ama­teur asso­ciates, ven­tured into this ceme­tery, our hopes orbit­ing some­where past the moon with our sens­es fine-tuned and opened for any­thing.

 

The moon was wan­ing as we pulled into the entrance, scat­tered trees sat life­less as the ear­ly spring air had yet to spark them to life. Step­ping out of my Sub­ur­ban with one work­ing head­light, I was instant­ly aware of a cool north­ern breeze as it whis­pered its way through the leaf­less branch­es. The ceme­tery sat cold and bar­ren,  the age­less tomb­stones dec­o­rat­ed with wilt­ing flow­ers seemed obliv­i­ous to our pres­ence. Slow­ly we began to make our way on foot, the EMP detec­tor alive and alert. From High­way 76 the hum of motors con­tin­ued by and then fad­ed,  auto­mo­tive beams throw­ing run­ning shad­ows across the head­stones. After walk­ing for a few min­utes, we sud­den­ly found our­selves con­front­ed by the record­ed stone of a man who had been born in 1843. A jew­el of his­to­ry plant­ed and for­got­ten. Thoughts and imag­i­na­tion cre­at­ed an image of this man who would have been eigh­teen at the begin­ning of the Civ­il War. Pos­si­bly a vot­er; either for or against Lin­coln. What a tale he must have had. Did he fight in the war? The head­stones chipped inscrip­tion did not say.

 

A motion to my left brought me back to the present as a shad­ow streaked past. The low light of the moon was of lit­tle help, as I quick­ly turned to fol­low it I acci­den­tal­ly defiled the man’s head­stone with the tip of my big toe. A wail could sud­den­ly be heard ring­ing over the eter­nal rest­ing place as I fell to the ground. The shad­ow, obvi­ous­ly star­tled by the reflex­ive siren that had escaped from my mouth, scut­tled off into the night but not before one of my asso­ciates was able to illu­mi­nate the hair­less tail that it was drag­ging behind it with his flash­light.

ERIC NEHER

 

Slow­ly, I rose to my feet. The throb­bing felt like a ham­mer steadi­ly beat­ing on my toe. From fur­ther in, past where I had last seen the flee­ing opos­sum, stood a large oak tree. Long leaf­less branch­es forked their way sky­ward, shad­ows with­in a shad­ow. With my new­ly found limp, I made my way towards the wide trunk. With my two com­rades offer­ing their phys­i­cal sup­port, I soon found myself lean­ing against the old oak tree where the man in the coat could often be seen hold­ing a spec­tral blade in hand. For­tu­nate­ly, the spir­it had opt­ed out this evening. Feint gig­gles blend­ed with con­tin­u­ous whis­pered recounts of my ear­li­er col­li­sion as I removed my ten­nis shoe and sock, reveal­ing a cracked nail. From the high­way vehi­cles con­tin­ued by unaware of the night­mare that was hap­pen­ing. It occurred to me that if by chance some­one was to look into the ceme­tery at this moment they might see a strange shape as it leaned on an old with­ered tree. Thus, the leg­end would con­tin­ue.

 

It was at this point that a deci­sion was made to con­clude the inves­ti­ga­tion. At first, I was hes­i­tant to ‘fold up camp’ so ear­ly, one rea­son being that we had accom­plished so lit­tle, and the oth­er being the dis­tance that I would now have to walk to get back to the Sub­ur­ban. It was soon clear that the votes were against me as our tiny three-man democ­ra­cy had spo­ken. With great effort I pushed myself off of the tree and lum­bered my way towards the near­est path, per­haps cre­at­ing a new leg­end about a zom­bie.

 

There will be some who will read this arti­cle and might doubt the hon­esty of the events, but I assure you that these are the facts. The ceme­tery had not yield­ed the super­nat­ur­al results that I had hoped for, that is true, how­ev­er, let us not be too quick to dis­card this area as mere fic­tion or an old wives tale. In the end, who’s to say what a true haunt­ing is?  And let us not for­get that after only an hour into our inves­ti­ga­tion I could be seen hob­bled and on my way home. That, in itself, could be con­strued as proof. Per­haps a sub­tle warn­ing to myself and to oth­ers that the dead are not quite as harm­less as we might assume and that if you are so inclined to vis­it the Blan­chard Ceme­tery, it might not be such a bad idea to bring along with you a first aid kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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