Several years ago, when I was a teenager I was visiting my grandmother’s house in Cabin Creek. Also visiting were some relatives from out of state. Among them was my Aunt Bea. She was a fine, Christian woman who truly “lived” her religious convictions. Therefore, when she began to tell me of a late summer picnic that turned ghostly for her and her husband as well as their children, I listened closely and never doubted a word of what she related.
There is a park not far from Charleston that is dotted with idyllic picnic spots. Some are tucked away and are more private than others. However, one is along the main thruway. It is on the right side of the road, and it is necessary to drive over a small bridge to get to the actual picnic spot. Even though the area is not large, a merry-go-round sat close to the picnic table.
After my cousins finished their meal, the two younger of the three decided to do some exploring. Cut into the hillside directly behind the picnic area are steps made of stone and rocks. The two youngsters were surprised to find an old cemetery on top of the hill. They were not afraid, probably because it was still daylight out, and because their parents and older brother were just down on the other side of the hill packing up the remnants of the family meal.
Eventually Aunt Bea called for her two exploring children to rejoin them, which they obediently did.
The family car, an old, white station wagon, sat in the middle of the bridge its hatchback open as my aunt and uncle began to load the blanket and baskets. My cousins were already piling into the car, squabbling over whom would be “stuck” having to sit in the middle.
Suddenly, my aunt and uncle turned around as they heard the echoing sounds of children’s laughter coming from behind them—coming from the creaking, whirling, empty, merry-go-round.
The wooden carousal spun around under the force of something they could not see, but they could clearly hear the voices of children as they played. Inside the car, my cousins fell silent and afraid.
It must have taken only a few moments for my uncle to slam down the hatch on the old station wagon and for him and my aunt to bail into the car. As they pulled out of the picnic spot, the merry-go-round still spun and the sounds of children’s voices rang out. Only now, my family could make out very faint white figures playing around the heavy, wooden merry-go-round. They sped away, never looked back and never went back there again. In addition, until that summer day at my grandmother’s house, no one spoke of the incident.
My Uncle refused to talk of the haunted picnic and my elder cousin, the oldest of their three children, left the room as his mother began telling me the tale. My Aunt Bea had no problem telling me the story though.
I have been through this park many, many times, but never to that particular spot. The bridge has been replaced, the rocky steps up to the cemetery are overgrown and the green, wooden merry-go-round was taken down years ago.
I only believe this story because my Aunt Bea told it me. Her beliefs were strong and steadfast then and remained that way until her death years later on Halloween.