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The Ghostly Pack

Posted on August 21, 2011

I grew up wild and wooly on a large tobacco and horse farm in Kentucky, never staying inside for very long. My life had been touched with tragedy on many occasions by the time my mother committed suicide on my sisters birthday in August of 73. Hence I had grown into a quiet and unhappy young man. The only thing that had ever made me feel good was to be outside, under the sun or moon, hunting and fishing, or just walking the trails looking for Arrow heads and four leaf clovers.

My partner in crime was my older cousin Wayne, and a finer outdoor partner and Cowboy to my Indian there never was. Wayne however was all Indian, tall and black haired, dark skinned with dark eyes and a devil may care manner. As a child I idolized him and thought him the most experienced trapper and hunter I’d ever known. Wayne was one of the few people I would speak to after my mothers death, I even refused my own Fathers brittle attempts at conversation as I blamed him for my every thing.

The only other person that Wayne and I loved unreservedly was our Grandmother Moore, she of the rosy cheeks and quiet thoughtful manner. We tried in all ways to please her but we could not keep ourselves inside on a warm and beautiful summer night filled with fire fly’s and adventure. I was always following Wayne, but make no mistake, I was a more than willing participant in his shenanigans.

Earlier on that fateful night we had hidden the shotgun and pistol in the loose stones that we had stealthily removed the previous summer, working in shifts and mostly when our grandparents had more important things on their minds than us children. The hidey hole was as far from their bedroom as we could get it, and we were always cat quiet around the house when we snuck out. We had decided to take the guns because we had a grand adventure in mind, to find the pack of ‘wild’ dogs that had the cattle so stirred up on certain nights. You see we had planned to kill the dogs and reap the rewards from our Grand father Moore for quelling the noise of panicked cattle. We had no Idea what we were in for.

The farm was huge, some 3800 acres that we could roam, with many ponds and 2 grave yards, 5 large tobacco fields and corn fields, as well as several old barns and abandoned buildings. We never knew where our happy feet would take us. Usually it was into trouble, as when we dammed the creek that was a tributary of the Kentucky river and flooded the garden. The wilderness was just outside our back door, and we took every advantage to explore the mysteries of twilight and summer.

This night we took our guns, I the shot gun and Wayne the pistol, and set off for the back acreage of the farm. The farthest barn was so old that even my Grand Father didn’t remember it being built, and he’d come to Clark County from Ireland in his misty youth. We had visited the barn many times before, often overnight and we always left it as we found it, perfectly empty. A tobacco barn isn’t like a stable barn or a hay barn, there are many rafters placed about 48 inches apart for the hanging of tobacco to air dry before it is stripped, stacked and sold at market. The inside of one of the barns is like an erector set or unbelievable jungle gyms, perfect for climbing and daydreaming.

When I and Wayne passed into the back pastures we could hear far in the distance the lowing of the cattle and the screech of the barn owls, spooky sounds no doubt, but old news to the experienced outdoorsmen we fancied ourselves. We did however walk faster as we passed the old grave yard with its few headstones, all from one family. My Grand Father never disturbed this place, but let it grow wild.

Far in the distance we heard the barking of several dogs, all somehow disjointed, all seeming to come from every direction, and none. Laughing, Wayne told me to load my shotgun and ready my knife, though he used more colloquial language than I do. As we passed the covered old well, some small distance from the graveyard, the dogs sounded again and it was much closer, too close. In the distance we could just make out the dark bulk of the barn against the starry night sky and we both broke into a run, heading for the safety of the barn and damn our plans of dead outlaw canines.

All the way to that barn my long legged cousin trailed his younger protg, I had discovered in myself a real terror of being eaten by some wild animal and thought that I’d like to be older than 10 when I died. We made it to the barn, with hardly a sound from the dogs, and climbed hastily into the rafters. Wayne asked me if I was alright, but I was so out of breath that I couldn’t answer him.

Keep in mind that the floor of a tobacco barn is just dirt, supporting beams driven feet into the soil and the cross members nailed on with a tin skin to the old barn. The dust inside was perhaps 3 inches deep, perfect for creating pretend rivers and walls for our army men and race tracks for toy cars. At least three inches thick. At least. About the time my breath returned a large pack of dogs, it was impossible to count them as they milled around and went over and under each other, streaked into the barn. they never made another sound, not a whimper, or a bark or a growl. Wayne and I decided to stay up in the rafters until morning, which is exactly what we did.

At first light the dogs left as quietly as they had come, and we climbed down from our perches, rubbing eyes and wishing for water and breakfast. Knowing that as soon as we walked into the kitchen from the back porch that we were both in for a real skinning by Paw Paw.

Wayne drew my attention to the floor of the barn, where I swear the dust was at least 3 inches deep, and so soft that you could leave the imprint of an owls feather in it. There were no tracks coming into the barn save our own. There were no tracks leaving the Barn, not until we left. Wayne had asked me all the long way home how a large pack of wild dogs could not leave a track, not a one.

Of course we still went out at night, but never back to the old barn, never that far from the house, and never again under a full moon.

Sent in by Mike Moore, Copyright 2011

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Tags: Kentucky

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5 Responses to “The Ghostly Pack”
  1. Liv says:

    That is one good ghost story. out of curiosity, did your grandmother or grandfather ever suspect it was ‘more’ then just a pack of actual dogs? What did they say when you told them?

    • emmitt says:

      my grand mother called me names in cherokee that I couldn’t understand, but she did say we were lucky. My Grand father punshed us with a buggy whip and took the guns, though I later got back my 4 10 shotgun. I’ve had an affinity for dogs, and wolves ever since. The farm that bordered ours never had any problems, but the Daniel Boone national forest in that area of Kentucky is very old and haunted.

      • Caretaker says:

        I love the DB Forest! I have also heard many stories about weird things going on in the area all my life

  2. Liv says:

    , i would love to visit DB forest, very much my type of thing. this is one of those occassions that i regret living in a country surrounded completely by water. an affinity with dogs and wolves? i can understand that. especially after what you witnessed. The best i can say from my end is that i can read a dog fairly well, well, mainly my poodle, and he’s always thinking nothing but ‘bugg-off’, hehe.

  3. Caretaker says:

    Received from Emmitt:

    “Some things that are known to the locals but not to the outside world is that the Daniel Boone National Forest has some sites with mounds and caves with evidence of human habitation that predate Egypt, leading one to believe that perhaps this is indeed an ancient Forest set into an ancient land. I’ve explored some of the vast cave systems in Kentucky, sometimes almost mesmerized by the beauty of the crystal and limestone formations. Many Native American tribes called Kentucy, Cahn Tuk (spelling may not be right) perhaps translated as ‘ land of good hunting’ explaining why there are so many arrow heads and burial sites in that area. Thanks for the kind words, and God Bless. “

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