13. A Mystery On Route 66
When I was a freshman in college I was on a film shoot near Barstow on Route 66. We were shooting on the property of the café known for the film Bagdad Café. This property has an abandoned motel attached to it, which is where we were shooting this unbelievably bad horror film.
The motel’s floor was full of papers, something I initially figured was a relic from the past, while the motel was actually doing business. A while into the shoot, we started picking up the papers and reading them.
They were handwritten letters from the seventies, perhaps never sent. They were addressed to dozens of different people, starting out normal, but going on to describe some really, really fucked up things. This was a guy who literally had some demons. He kept talking about how “they” were watching him and the like. The handwriting also got more and more messed up as we assembled the letters chronologically.
Meanwhile, outside the motel there was a storage container with “KEEP OUT” spray-painted on it. Naturally, we were curious. There was a hole in the side, and someone reached in and pulled out some documents. Among them was a letter, on government typeface (I think it was the VA), telling the person who wrote those crazy letters that he was (unknowingly) a participant of some tests of hallucinogenic substances while he was in the army.
This whole time, there was a room in the abandoned motel that was sealed off, that we were strictly forbidden from entering. All the windows were covered by plywood, and the door was barricaded shut. It smelled like death. Seriously the worst smell I’ve ever encountered in my life.
14. The Dogs Knew
I don’t have any way to verify whether this is actually a family story or whether it’s an urban legend, but here:
My family has lived in rural Nebraska since they immigrated from Germany in the mid-1800s. Near the turn of the century disease was pretty rampant in the homesteading area and it killed off members of almost every family. When someone died from illness, time was of the essence in burying them as not to let the virus spread from the deceased to the living. This meant no wake periods.
So an aunt of some unknown number of “greats” preceding her relationship to me dies of some disease and she gets buried in the family cemetery on the the homestead. The dogs were very fond of her so it wasn’t too surprising that after the funeral the two dogs stuck near the grave.
The rest of the family began to think something of it when, a week and a half later, the dogs were still visiting her grave almost constantly. But they weren’t just at the grave. They were visibly distressed, frantic, and often barking while there.
This goes on for maybe two weeks when the family decides to check it out. They dig the casket up and open it.
The deceased’s hair has all been pulled out. Her fingers are raw and bloody and mangled from where, on the inside of the casket door, they can see deep scratches in the wood.
She was comatose when they buried her, and she came to while underground, spending probably her last five or so days alive in a buried casket.