My first experience with the paranormal happened when I was five or six years old and living in Florida with my family. I am forty-eight years old now and this one experience is so etched in my memory that when I recall it today, it is still as clear as if it had happened to me a few moments ago.
We lived on a cattle ranch not far from Bushnell, Florida. At that time, in the 60's, there were no street lights on the ranch, just a gravel road across cattle grates to our small, isolated ranch house in the pasture.
I remember going to the screened-in back door that night and seeing my mother standing in the square of light cast from our kitchen through the door and onto the yard. She was raking out scraps for our dogs into their dog pan. She saw I was at the door and asked me to bring the flash light that always sat on our kitchen counter.
I took the flashlight to her without even a question in my mind. She cast a beam of the light down into the dark pasture where I could see two orange eyes faintly glowing in the dark.
"What is it, mama?" I remember asking and she replied that she had been watching the eyes for a little while. She thought it might be a cow at first but the eyes were too close to the ground.
We watched as the eyes started down the pasture toward some large trees that grew at the side of our house. The eyes didn't move like cow eyes, in a slow plodding way, but smoothly, more like a bird in my mind. They remained close to the ground and always watching us with their orange glow. It glided smoothly to a huge live oak tree that grew maybe twenty-five feet from our house.
Then the eyes did the strangest thing, they turned parallel to the tree's trunk and glided up the side of the tree for about fifteen feet, disappeared around the back of the huge trunk and then out onto the first branch that grew on the opposite side of the tree. I remember my mama saying, "That's no cow," softly as she traced the flashlight beam along the limb underneath the eyes. The beam caught no sign of fur or feet of any kind-just empty blackness like the night. The eyes disappeared into a large clump of leaves at the end of the branch.
My mama and I ran through the back door, through the house and out onto our front porch. My Daddy was sitting on the couch with the younger children watching a comedy on television. I remember it must have been a comedy because I remember laughter from the audience or sound track.
Daddy said, "What is it?"
My Mama and I said almost at the same time, "There's something in the pasture..." before we ran out onto the porch.
We stood in the light cast from the front door and watched the end of the tree branch bouncing up and down wildly in the flash light beam. Daddy was trying to corral the younger children back from the door. I remember turning around to see what he was doing and when I turned back, the moon started to rise over the flat Florida landscape casting a bluish glow. Now we could see without aid from the flash light. The branch bounced up and down, I remember the rustle of leaves and a curious smell came to me on the night air, like burning wood. The branch stopped bouncing because the owner of the eyes had jumped out of the tree and onto the gravel road in front of our house. For a moment, it was obscured by the hanging, still slightly bouncing clump of leaves and then it started to "move" down the road in front of our house.
The moon showed the owner of the orange glowing eyes, glowing more brightly now in the moonlight. It was no cow for whatever it was stood on two spindly legs like animal legs that ended in two thin narrow hooves. From the legs upward was a huge body with no discernable arms and a hump of a head with two very long straight horns that curved slightly upward at the ends. The entire body was pitch black and at least six feet tall from hoof to horn end. The only color being the bright orange eyes.
This thing hopped on its two legs down the road. I could hear the shifting crunch of gravel and see blue sparks fly up as its feet came back down on the road.
My Mama and I, accompanied by my Daddy, piled into the house and slammed the door. We were breathing as if we'd run a race. My Daddy, from his position with his back against the door said breathlessly "That's a plat eye, there's treasure buried near that tree..."
I didn't understand then, but years later, I discovered exactly what a "plat eye" is. In Southern legend, plat eyes are the ghost of murdered animals that are set to guard hidden treasure by a living human. Daddy never dug around the tree to see if there was hidden treasure, believing whatever treasure there might have been was cursed.
This singular incident from my young life set me on the road to being a True Believer in the flip side of the coin from our reality. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that things exist in our world which are almost beyond reason to explain.
Many paranormal occurrences have befallen me in my life but I will save those for another day.