|George Buster Singleton|
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Let your spirit of adventure triumph over good sense” was originally published in the May 2, 1996 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
Many people do crazy things. Many of us do various things just to see if there is any truth in the tall tales that we hear. Many times, some of us come out on the short end of the stick, as the saying goes.
I have been told by my wife that I am not very smart in some of the things that I undertake. She seems to think that I might be a little hardheaded at times. She thinks that I should listen to others when there is personal danger or hardship involved. This story is about one of those times.
A few weeks back, my wife had to be away for a few days to attend a refresher course that pertained to her employment. She was to be gone for three days and two nights. Since I’m not a vivid boob-tube watcher, and due to the fact that I was alone, I decided that now was a good time for me to catch up on a few investigations that I had postponed for several months.
I knew of an old, abandoned house place that is to be found to the northeast of the old Bradley Ridge settlement where mysterious happenings were going on. So, on the second night of my dear wife’s departure, I gathered my usual supplies and mounted my trail bike and headed in a northeastwardly direction.
The time was 6:52 p.m. as I headed past the Peterman turnoff. I wanted to get into the area before complete darkness fell. Since the days had begun to lengthen, I felt that I would be in the area before complete darkness; I knew that it would be very dark there under the tall timbers around the old house place.
After arriving, I secured my transportation in the tall bushes nearby. Then I found a place in an old, abandoned hedgerow and settled down to wait. From where I sat, I was in full view of the crumpled old chimney that was located at the end of where the old house once stood.
As usual, I began to question the reason I had ventured out on a night like this, when I could be sitting in a soft chair and watching the boob tube. I thought to myself that perhaps my dear wife was right. I might just be a little hardheaded at times. And then, I remembered the many times that I had ventured forth and witnessed for myself many happenings that few others ever see. I made myself believe that I was glad that I had come.
The hour was approaching 9:45 p.m. I wasn’t sure, but I thought I heard a rooster crow. Then I remembered that no houses were nearby. The nearest house was too far away to hear a rooster crow at that distance. I listened for several minutes; the rooster crowed again.
The skin on the back of my neck had begun to crawl up and down, and the hair on my neck began to stand on end. The thought came to mind that I should hit myself in the mouth for being here.
An hour passed; then another hour came and went. I realized that I was hearing someone talking. I couldn’t make out the words; the talking was coming from near the crumbled chimney. I eased my body to where I could see the old pile of rocks; I saw nothing.
Then, all of a sudden, I heard the voices of what seemed to be several children. They were laughing and calling to each other as if some type of game was being played. The sound was so clear that I almost expected to see several kids come running up the hill.
The sounds of the playing children lasted for several minutes. As I sat there, trying to guess just what was going on, a dog barked nearby. Then, the rooster crowed again. Much against my better judgement, I sat very still and listened.
The moon broke through the tall pines. The outline of the crumbled old chimney could be seen much clearer; I sat and waited. I suddenly became aware of a very familiar odor. I sniffed the air; I had smelled this odor many times as a small boy growing up on the farm. I was smelling good food cooking. The odors brought back memories of my mother’s cooking. Memories of good hot food and cold, sweet milk flooded through my memories.
Called for supper time
The sounds of the playing children returned; they seemed that they were rushing up the hill as though they had been called for their supper time. The dog barked as though it was chasing the running children.
I looked toward the crumbled chimney; there was nothing. Then ever so faintly, I realized that I was seeing a small, dim light – a light that would be given off from a burning splinter or a small coal oil lamp. The small light slowly moved away from the old chimney down toward the other end of where the old house used to stand. The small light stopped and was still for a few moments, and then it was gone.
I sniffed the brisk night air; the wonderful smell of the cooking food had faded also. The night had grown awfully quiet; I listened for the crowing rooster. The dog barked just once, then it, too, faded away.
I got slowly to my feet, trying not to disturb anyone or anything; I finally reached where I had hidden my trail bike. I began to slowly push the machine out toward the faint trail.
The moonlight was much brighter now. I wanted to be away from the old chimney before I started the engine of my motorcycle. I didn’t know the reason, but I knew that this was the way that it had to be.
As I pushed my transportation out unto the faint trail that led to the road, I saw something that made me stop and my blood run cold. Standing in the trail was a very large rooster. The rooster flapped his wings a couple of times and stretched his neck. Standing on his toes, he crowed very loudly three times. As the crowing stopped, he stepped from the trail; I saw him no more. He had vanished into thin air.
A cold shower and a soft bed didn’t bring the sleep that I wanted. The loud ticking of the grandfather clock in the living room seemed never to end and grew louder as the night wore on and the morning finally came.
(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, moved to Monroe County in 1961 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)