|George 'Buster' Singleton|
(For decades, paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “New year stirs memories,” was originally published in the Jan. 18, 1990 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala. This column 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 for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive. Enjoy.)
Why is it that during certain times of the year a person’s thoughts seem to follow certain thought patterns? Throughout my teenage and adult years, at the beginning of the new year, my thoughts return to the lives of the early Indian.
I begin to feel a desire or calling to stay in the woods. There is a sensation telling me to separate myself from my fellow man and become a loner. At the slightest feeling of misfortune I want to run and lose myself in the deep woods. Once I return to the woods and the valleys, all is well within me.
On a clear day, like New Year’s Day this year, I take on a very strong obsession to watch every sunset that I can. If I miss a beautiful sunset, I tend to become angry with myself for letting the day go by without witnessing this spectacle of beauty.
New Year’s Day morning, I had the feeling that I must go up into the high hills and along the river near the ferry. I cannot explain the reason but when it seemed that I could stand it no longer, my wife and I loaded up and proceeded to the spots that I longed to visit.
It wasn’t that I expected to see anything that I had not already seen. I have been to these places many times. I knew what I was going to see, even before I left home, but I was not content until I reached the top of Nancy Mountain and sat for a spell.
Then I had a walk by the mighty river. As I walked, I watched the creatures of nature, perhaps totally unaware that today was the first day of a brand new year.
As I sat atop my favorite spot, I wondered how many people were feeling the same feelings as me at that very minute. Could there be some strange calling that had singled me out so that I would come this way?
I knew that not everyone felt as I did because there wasn’t room atop Nancy Mountain for thousands upon thousands of people if everyone had the urge to go there as I did.
Everywhere that I have been in this world, and I have been many places, I felt the urge to find that special place. And if I am there for any length of time, I manage to seek out a spot that is special as though it had been thought out earlier.
Many years ago, during my early military career, I was sent to Panama to attend a jungle survival school. I had never been to Panama before, but I knew that something within me told me that I must slip away and find time to watch a sunset out over the Pacific Ocean.
This I managed to do without any of my instructors even being aware that I was gone. Years later, I returned to Panama, not to the same place, but I knew that I had to return to the ocean and view that which I had been instructed to see. Twenty-nine sunsets in a 30-day period is not a bad average.
Again, during the time that I lived in the great Southwest, I would sit for hours, watching the evening sun as it made its way across the desert skies to finally disappear in a blaze of glory on the distant horizon. Here too, I had a special place atop a high, flat topped mesa.
I could see for hundreds of miles in any direction. Many nights, I would slip away with my sleeping bag and spend the night atop the mesa, listening to the desert winds moan and cry as it weaved its way through the rocks and crevices in the valleys below me.
I the morning, I would make the climb down to the desert floor, refreshed and glad that I had been allowed to witness the happenings of the night before. Some of my friends thought I was kind of weird when I would tell them that I had spent a Saturday night atop Chimney Rock when everyone else was having a night on the town. Then I managed to talk two of them into going with me; then there were three weird ones instead of just myself.
So, should you be traveling around the county and you see some strange looking fellow asleep in a tree or sitting out in the cold on some windy hilltop, don’t be surprised, it might just be me. But, I must give you a word of warning, if you see fit to join me in one of these strange and ridiculous places, you just might end up like me. Then people will watch you out of the corners of their eyes and whisper behind your back.
But, don’t be discouraged, the peace of mind that you will acquire will overcome all the thoughts that can be conjured up from the most superstitious minds in this area.
Then, on those evenings when I visit Nancy Mountain or look for a soft spot to lie down by the mighty river for a relaxing nap, I just might find you there, already asleep. I will know then, that someone else hears the calls to seek peace, in the places where peace and contentment can only be found; the places that only you and I will know. And in the places where you might have a word or two with the Great Spirit, if you feel the urge.
(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. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville.)