|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 “Indeed, the hills are alive with the sounds of music!” was originally published in the July 22, 1972 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
If you should take the time to ask 100 people if they believe in the supernatural, you would get 100 different answers. Most will deny that they believe in anything that is not above board and lacking positive proof.
But let someone mention an instance when something has happened that is unexplainable, and these same people who don’t believe are the ones who listen the closest and are the most interested.
Several months ago as I sat atop a high hill in north Monroe County, watching the last golden rays of the setting sun disappear below the horizon, I became aware that I was hearing faint strains of music all around me.
I didn’t think much about it until I realized that I had no radio, and the nearest house was several miles from where I stood.
Like an organ
I waited for quite a long time and listened as the soft, restful music continued to ride the soft breeze of the late evening. As I listened, I was unable to distinguish any tune that I could identify. But it sounded as though and organ were playing in the distance.
The strains of music were continuous, becoming louder at times, only to fade to the point where they were almost inaudible. Then, as suddenly as it had faded, it would swell again.
As I left the hilltop, I was sure of what I had heard. But as I rode away, I decided that I would return again to this spot before I mentioned it to anyone. Sometimes when you mention certain instances as this, there are some that will look at you kind of strangely.
I returned several times to the hilltop to see if I could hear the music. There were times when I could hear the soothing strains floating across the tall grass, and other times when I could hear nothing but the whippoorwills and the sounds of the evening preparing for the coming darkness.
After a while, I was so sure that the music was there that I mentioned it to my wife. With much doubt and skepticism, she finally agreed to go with me to the spot.
As luck would have it, we did not hear it the first trip there. After persuading her to return with me the second time, we heard the low, sweet notes the moment we stepped from my truck.
Many times I have returned to this hilltop and watched the setting sun. Each day I look forward to when I can hurry up the faint trail and listen for the sound of music that has become so familiar.
And on the days when I am unable to make the journey to the hilltop, I find myself becoming impatient and looking forward to the passing of time when I can slip away to the tall hill and listen to the sounds that are so strange – and yet so familiar.
(The column above was also accompanied by a landscape photo that bore the caption: Musical hilltop in north Monroe County.)
(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, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 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. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” 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.)