Thursday, January 13, 2011

Something's bad on Twitchell Hill

After digesting a string of movies recently about the supernatural world of ghosts and apparitions one "sees" these days, I started thinking (again) of the scary stories and places we had to deal with in '50s Baldwyn.

There was the Sloan home, the old Caldwell home, and the 20-mile creek wash-hole where someone drowned that come to mind. I'm sure there were others associated with the Crossroads battlefield, but the one that I had to do a bit of research on was the tale of the "headless" Mr. Twitchell.

The hill South of town was named after that fellow. I have heard he was a landowner, farmer, and also a homeless vagrant. Anyhow, and somehow, the story got around (I barely remember it) that he was found decapitated and later roamed the hill around his neighborhood moaning and searching for his head. Many believed the tale, and would not stay in that area after dark. I asked some older folks about the story, and, according to them, it was a very well known tale.

Twitchell hill was a lure to boys in my age group because of the peach trees, pecan trees, and many other fruit trees that abounded on it. It was a good place to have tracking practice in the Boy Scout program and various other functions. Herb Spivey and I sent our first message using semaphore flags there once. I recall only one overnight trip with the scouts in that area, and if anyone had ever mentioned old man Twitchell coming around looking for his head, I swear we would have gone home post-haste.

A public dump was on top of the hill in my day, and we boys found many "treasures" there. Old radios, appliances, glass gallon jugs we could sell for a quarter apiece, and various other items would get hauled away to home on our bicycles.

So, I am told and will trust my sources that there really was a Mr. Twitchell and he lived on that particular hill. His social status I do not know. His death by decapitation or otherwise is also unknown. For the sake of humor, let's assume he did die violently and search for his head as reported - and probably still does. This is no worse of a ghost story than we see on the screen these days.

There was always someone's house on the old road on the hill, it seems, that got a lot of visitors continually. I remind you of that because if some folks couldn't get their thirst quenched by a milkshake or a cola of some sort, they drove down and got an adult beverage... Oh! and that is the person that bought the gallon jugs from us!