a tiny bit creepy

I spent far too long yesterday reading Jezebel’s posts about ghost stories (check the comments on both pages for a ton more creepy stories). Thankfully, nothing similar has ever happened to me, but I was inspired to share my creepy story.

When I was in elementary school in a rural school district, my friend Jennifer lived in the middle of nowhere. When I say “the middle of nowhere,” I mean she had fields on both sides, a creek and woods nearby, and a cemetery across the street full of graves from the 1700s and 1800s. We spent a lot of time outside, particularly exploring the cemetery. Morbid, maybe, but utterly fascinating – especially the three gravestones with the same name, same birth date, and different death dates.

One day, we decided to have a picnic in a nearby grassy field. We were probably nine and we definitely had overactive imaginations; our obsession at the time was aliens. We (myself in particular) had become fairly well-known among our classmates for pretending to be from another planet. As we sat in the grass and ate our packed lunches, Jennifer’s flair for the dramatic kicked in. It was something to do with the sound of an airplane overhead and the sound of a crow – apparently, that meant the aliens were coming and we had to run. This was all in good, pretend fun, of course, but we were highly-imaginative nine-year-olds. We hurriedly grabbed our lunches and ran.

Instead of running out the direction we’d come in, we for some reason chose to run up a big hill. Here’s the weird part: when we got toward the top of the hill, we ran smack dab – well, almost – into a gigantic tractor. I can still see it in my mind exactly as it looked. We screamed and without communicating in any way, we took off running as fast as we could. Our fear was real this time.

We got back to her house after damn near having a heart attack and debriefed. Neither of us had seen a driver. We were thankful we hadn’t been run over. I was worried my parents would find out and would be upset with me for putting myself in danger. We would go on to talk about it every so often – “remember when that tractor almost ran us over?” – but that was that.

Until a few years ago. I started to realize it didn’t make any sense. If a tractor was coming down the hill, why hadn’t it been, you know, moving? Who just perches their tractor precariously at the top of a hill? And why hadn’t we seen a driver of any sort? It wasn’t exactly the kind of place you’d park your tractor and leave – besides, there was nowhere for them to have gone. Of course, just because there was no explanation doesn’t mean we attributed it to something supernatural. Not at all.

We just assume we’d gone insane. While I’m 100% sure this is something I thought I saw – not something I made up on purpose like the alien stories – I can’t say for sure if it was truly there. While it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have had some kind of joint hallucination, that’s the only thing that seems to fit. It was scary as hell, but it had to be something that wasn’t really there. Neither of us have been able to figure out what exactly happened or why we would suddenly hallucinate a tractor, so we’ve got to chalk it up to being the over-imaginative kids we were.

Or maybe it was an evil ghost tractor. You just never know.


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