I have hesitated to write about this for a few reasons. One, it will be a long story, so I'll break it up into two parts. Two, it becomes intensely personal. Three, well you never know how things will be received.
The part of Central Texas where all these encounters take place is close to the Devil's Backbone. It's not called the Devil's Backbone for paranormal reasons but because the area is very rugged and remote. It's made up of limestone cliffs and caverns, oak trees and juniper, and rattlesnakes and bobcats. That being said it also does have a strong reputation for unexplained happenings.
The land where these occurrences take place belonged to my long term boyfriend. He had several acres that were attached to a few hundred that belonged primarily to his father. The property has been in the family since before the civil war so several generations had been born and lived and died on it.
When Steve first took me out there we hadn't been dating long but he wanted me to see the area. His plan was to eventually build a house on it but at the time there were no structures. It had great big live oaks and wild red buds trees. Those red buds came to life in the spring when they bloomed. The property also had thickets of dew berries and a row of elm trees along the southern boundary. Along the western boundary was an old rock wall that I used to find Texas Rat Snakes sunning themselves on. One year we had a pair of Red Wing Hawks nest in the back section and successfully raise a chick. They came back for a repeat the next year. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
On that first visit there was a large wooden swing hanging on a live oak in what would become the back yard. It was the type of swing you would often find on a porch. Big enough for two or three people. There was a tall round table in front of it and an empty beer bottle sitting on the table. I asked Steve about it and he told me it was for his grandfather. I knew his grandfather was dead so he explained that he had put the swing up then and had then surprisingly seen him sitting on it many times. The acres my boyfriend owned had once belonged to his grandfather and when Steve was young they spent a lot of time there together. That is why my boyfriend bought it. It had been a special place for the two of them.
So, I waited to see the grandfather on the swing. As time went on Steve built a shed with a loft that he could use for storage and shelter if he got caught out in bad weather. One day he and his friend Jim rode out there and as they neared the live oak tree Jim asked who the man on the swing was? Steve told him it was his grandfather. Jim looked back to the swing and the old man was gone. Jim initially was so frightened he didn't want to get out of the truck but eventually did. I wasn't with them that trip so again, I waited to see the grandfather on the swing.
We made frequent trips out to the country and I was always hopeful I would see his grandfather, but it didn't come to pass. Sometimes Steve would see him but always when I wasn't there. I finally started to accept the fact that, for some reason, the grandfather didn't seem to want to appear to me. I didn't know if that was good or bad, but that was the way it was.
As time passed Steve moved in with me in Austin. One evening I drove out to the country to pick him up at his sister's and he wanted to stop by his property to check on everything. It had been raining for days and he had me stop my car on top of the little hill at the start of his land and aim my headlights down to his shed so he could see where he was walking. It was way too muddy for me too drive down the hill and not get stuck. I watched him trudge off down the slope and I got my dog out of the car to give him a break.
Cash (my dog) and I were messing around by a cattle guard when something caught my eye. I glanced up and saw Steve walking a few feet away from me towards my car so I turned back to call my dog. I was a bit puzzled though because Steve was coming from the wrong direction. He was coming from the west when he should have been coming from the north. I turned back again but he was nowhere to be seen. He had just disappeared. I suddenly realized the person I saw was wearing a dark shirt with dark pants. Steve was wearing a maroon shirt with faded jeans. I stood in the moonlight for a moment then, with my dog, searched the whole area. Nothing. No one. Nada. No footprints and no person. Cash and I were quite alone. I loaded my dog up and sat in my car waiting for my boyfriend while coming to the realization that I had finally seen the grandfather! Not on the swing, but I had seen him none the less.
I'll stop here because this post already long, but this was just the beginning of strange happenings on the land near the Devil's Backbone.