“Turn right!” I said to Justin, who was driving down the isolated county road in rural Delaware County Oklahoma. “I think this is it!”
The unmarked cemetery road was a lot harder to find in the dark. My mortician friend had given me a tip about the Goat Man who had been reported near Cherokee Cemetery earlier in the week. He was always calling me to give me new cemeteries and haunted places to explore; Justin and I had been a ghost hunters for over twenty years and become friends with the local undertaker when he allowed us to explore his mortuary on our first ever ghost hunt. Now he had called upon us and told us that he had recently buried a 104 year old man, Angus Hawk, who was full blood Cherokee and who was known as a shape-shifter and medicine man in the tribal community. His favorite animal to shape shift into was always a goat.
The story unfolded when my mortician friend told us about conducting a funeral at the Cherokee Cemetery. He recounted how, during the funeral, he looked into the woods and saw a goat standing by the grave of a small boy at the far end of the burial ground. It was munching on the fake flowers that had been so painstakingly and lovingly placed there by the local historical society. After the funeral was over, he kept getting calls from people in that area who knew the man, and had been afraid of him when he was alive. My mortician friend had been accused of not following customary tribal practices because they were complaining that the extremely restless spirit of a large goat man that had been seen by several frightened people in the general area. It was doing such things as eating big holes in laundry left hung out on the line at night, leaving chewed up beer and food cans all over the yard, and peeking into windows and frightening the people inside. The mortician at first discounted the claims, because he did see an actual, solid, flesh and blood goat eating fake flowers during the graveside service, and he simply thought the general “Deliverance” feel of the immediate area, alongside the fact that the reports were possibly being made by rednecks who had one too many beers under their belts. The stories about Angus Hawk that had become urban legend in our area was making their imaginations run wild.
My mortician friend was not usually so quick to debunk or dismiss claims, as his own mortuary was residence to at least five ghosts, all of which I had personally spoken to via a spirit box device, and a K2 meter. I also had several good photographs and video clips that the undertaker could show off to visitors. I instructed him on how to talk to the spirits there and he would frequently call me to tell me about a new EVP session he had conducted that revealed some pretty lively conversations with the other side.
When the phone calls complaining about a goat man continued, the pestered mortician called Justin and me in desperation, to ask us to get to the bottom of the claims and hopefully, put them to rest. He knew that we always tried to find rational explanations and would debunk claims first before drawing a conclusion about a haunt. Since I always got off on the adrenaline rush that ghost hunting brought me, I was more than happy to oblige.
Justin carefully drove down the long and very narrow road that was more foot path than road. It was always swampy even in the driest of conditions so Justin was careful not to get our SUV stuck, because it was loaded with a generator to power our DVR cameras, and our bags of tools used in our trade were extremely heavy because we always had to carry extra battery packs, which weighed as much as a pound apiece. Any time we encountered genuine paranormal activity, we’d experience extreme battery drain so the thought of carrying a heavy bag over a mile down a swampy mucky road was not appealing. Justin chuckled and asked, “why do you think they called the funeral home to complain instead of the sheriff?”
I laughed and said, “you know the answer to that one! They didn’t want to appear foolish or like they were wasting the sheriff’s time. You remember what happened a few months ago when those boys down in Kenwood distributed a recording of a Sasquatch they had downloaded off the Internet. It made the paper and caused a mass hysteria. Too bad too because I know there’s a real Sasquatch in this area and it is a blow to serious paranormal investigating whenever people do stuff like that. The sheriff just ignored them and several of the people who called the sheriff said they were made to feel like they were being made fun of in the paper for their honest mistake.”
Justin nodded and said “yeah, I know there’s a Bigfoot down there, because, as you know, I’ve seen it at least three times. Too bad every time I see it, I don’t have you or any of our equipment with us. It’s like it knows when to mess with me.” He drove on in silence then finally stopped the vehicle and said, “well, we’re here.”
I had heard of Cherokee Cemetery before, but had never gotten the opportunity to do a ghost hunt there. Lots of people avoided the place like the plague because of the stories coming out of it. Even my undertaker friend didn’t like the place much because of that, but if he was called upon to conduct a funeral there, he had to oblige. Cherokee Cemetery was an alleged hot spot for paranormal activity, and the Goat Man was not the only spirit who haunted the place. He was simply the newest. I had not ever bothered with Cherokee Cemetery to begin with simply out of respect for the Indian customs that were attached to it. I didn’t want to do anything that would offend the families or any of the folks buried here. It was bad enough that I often got opposition from people in the area who claimed to be Christians and who looked upon what Justin and I did as summoning the devil. I only made the exception to go to Cherokee Cemetery this time because my mortician friend was wanting relief from all the calls of freaked out people, and the people who were scared of this Goat Man they were seeing, were obviously needing some relief. It was my duty first and foremost to help people in this field, and that’s what Justin and I were there for. Justin and I made it our policy to not ever do anything that would offend the masses, which was not easy when you were dealing with a lot of people who were highly spiritual with their beliefs and customs, which varied from person to person.
Justin and I got out of the truck and gathered our bags of equipment. We each took a Glow Stick necklace so as to see one another in the dark, and broke the membrane to make them glow and put them around our necks. We then each picked up a flashlight, a digital camera, a digital voice recorder, and a K2 meter, placed these items in a tool belt we wore around out waists, and proceeded to survey the area. Justin walked the perimeter of the area as I took the interior of the cemetery. Both of us were careful not to step on or trip over any headstones. My eyes were pretty accustomed to the dim conditions and after my eyes adjusted to the dark, they were actually easy to see because when there were no lights in an area, and even a flashlight wasn’t much help. Occasionally I would see Justin’s camera flash in the dark, and his Glow Stick around his neck and flashlight bobbing as we went through the initial surveying routine.
Suddenly I felt a cold chill and the pervasively overwhelming feeling of despair surrounding me. I pointed my K2 meter in front of me and the lights started going crazy on it. I quickly scanned the area above my head for any power lines, and underground telephone lines. Finding none, I took a few quick photos with my camera and put it back in my tool belt. I switched on the digital voice recorder and introduced myself, gave my location and the date and then started asking provoking questions, such as, “Are you the spirit of Angus Hawk?” I paused and then asked more questions such as, “are you the goat man that people have been seeing around here?” I paused to give him a chance to answer, as it took a lot of energy for a spirit to speak. I asked about ten more questions and then suddenly heard Justin yelp out in the dark, “something’s got me!”
I ran toward his voice and laughed when I saw him. He was so engrossed with his investigation that he didn’t notice when he walked under a tree with a branch low enough to brush his baseball hat off of his head, and then firmly snag the hood from hoodie he was wearing, holding it fast. I helped get him loose from the handsy tree, had a good laugh about the situation and then when we were done, continued to investigate. We each took some photos and video footage, did a sweep with a heat sensor camera and an infrared video camera, and did more sweeps with our K2 meters and digital voice recorders before deciding we might have collected enough evidence that we could call it a night. I was actually disappointed that I had not seen the Goat Man in person and was pretty sure when we went over the evidence after we got home, that we were only going to find the usual orbs that may or may not be dust and pollen, and mists that may or may not have been plain old fog, and generic EVP recordings.
After we had our equipment put away, I told Justin, “I’m going to keep the digital camera out and I am going to sit on the edge of the window and take pictures of the area as we’re going out.”
He said “OK” as I rolled down the window and carefully sat sidesaddle on the edge of our truck’s door. I always made sure to wrap my leg around the seat belt so I would not fall from the window into the road. This time however, I didn’t. It was dangerous and risky for me to do this, but I felt it was necessary to survey the area this way. Things were going fine and I was taking pictures to the right of me. If I had been looking to the left, I would have seen what made Justin suddenly slam on the gas and take off like a maniac with me still sitting on the edge of the truck. He did this about the time I hit the shutter button on my camera…I landed in the muck with a wet thud and Justin kept driving! Suddenly I saw him slam on the brakes and back the truck up. He got out and ran toward me, and went, “are you alright?”
Other than being muddy all the way up to the back of my neck, I was fine. Only my pride was hurt. I asked Justin, “what happened? Did the accelerator get stuck?”
He nervously chuckled and said, “well, I am kind of embarrassed to admit this but I happened to look out the window to my left and saw a goat face inches from my nose…and it startled me. You’d think after doing this for over twenty years, I would be desensitized by this.” I was perplexed and knew it happened to the best of us. I said, “maybe I got a photo of it.” It was then that I realized I was no longer in possession of my camera.
My camera strap had apparently come undone from my wrist during the accident and my camera was more than likely lost somewhere in the weeds. Justin and I got our flashlights from the truck and looked around, but couldn’t find it. We both agreed to come back the following morning and try to find it in the daylight about the time it came flying from behind me, as if thrown by an unknown person hiding in the woods. The camera hit me square in the back of the head. I knew my camera couldn’t have possibly been thrown that far and it was odd that it was thrown back…unless of course it had somehow flown upwards and got the strap snagged on a tree branch and the camera was flung by the tree but this was a far fetched theory on my part. I picked up the camera, turned it on to check to see if it was OK and was startled to see the ghostly image of a man with beard, horns, and genuine goat-like appearance staring back at me.