There are many apparitions that appear to folks in the south, especially in the deep dark
hollows of the Appalachians. These stories of ghosts, goblins, chains rattling, ugly dwarves, clattering horses' hooves, gates opening
by themselves, have been passed down from generation to generation. Some have been modified and downright changed as the stories go
from mouth to mouth. The following two events I have to believe, as one was witnessed by my father, and the other related by my brother.
My dad, Edward Shortt, and Grandpa Jefferson Shortt were logging in one of the hollows
to the south of Shortt Gap. Their normal workday was from daylight to dark.
As they trudged
along the creek bed, dog tired and hungry, the farthest thing from either of their minds was what they were about to encounter. The
problem they faced was that they had forgotten to take a light along and could only find their way from memory.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, as if drifting up out of the ground, appeared a woman dressed from head to toe in solid white. They could
not see through her, as is usually the case with ghost reports, but instead appeared as a normal woman except for the snow-white features.
Her footsteps resounded upon the rounded creek rocks, her deathly appearance seemed to have been prepared for this particular night.
“What could this mean? They asked themselves, as the woman ventured nearer. What kind of
sign is she conveying to us?”
Their challenge to her to, “stop where you are and identify
yourself,” went unanswered. Their fear was overcoming their sense of reason. If it was a human, there was nothing to fear as they
were both strong, capable men. If it was a ghost, ghosts cannot harm a human being, only scare the daylights out of you! You can bet
they both were terribly frightened.
“Tell us who you are!” Grandpa demanded.
Grandpa always carried a sidearm for snakes and other pests, and on this night
he carried a revolver under his belt. The woman didn't stop, but came nearer, and nearer without a word!
“If you do not stop, I will shoot!”
She continued onward, staring as if in a daze.
Grandpa had no alternative but to stop her. He fired several shots at her, the bullets leaving dark holes in her. Just as they drew
near enough to touch her, she disappeared as she had appeared.
There is a saying in the South,
“If one sees one in white,
be a death of someone near
Within that very night.”
When folks in the southern Appalachians
go to the woods to cut firewood, two persons go to man the saw, and a third person goes along to hold the log in place for sawing.
On this particular day, my brother, Donald, was chosen to be the log holder. Evening was falling. Shadows crept over the little meadow
where the sawing took place. The Davis twins, Earl and Pearl, pulled the saw. Neither realized that the drama to follow would affect
the whole Davis family, as well as the Shortt family.
The air grew strangely quiet. Birds
stopped chirping while procuring their evening feed. The work proceeded onward, but all of a sudden the Davis twins threw down the
saw and ran down the hollow as fast as they could convey themselves away. Donald had no recourse but to run also.
“What could be the matter”? Donald thought as he ran helter-skelter down the rocky incline.
Stumbling on a root, he picked himself up quickly, his body bruised and torn, to continue to run as if his feet had sprouted wings.
Fear of the unknown is the greatest of fears.
Approaching the Davis home, Donald sensed
an air of awe and wonderment, not in line with the usually, jovial family. The twins were just now relating why they had left the
sawing so suddenly:
It seems they both had looked up at the same time to see a beautiful
woman, dressed totally in white from head to toe, not saying a word, just gazing up at them with an eerie look about her.
“Her skin, they said, was white as fallen snow. Not transparent, just totally white.”
hadn't seen the woman as his back was toward her, but his instinct was to run just as the twins had done. He knew that this was not
behavior becoming the Davis twins.
Having finished their story, someone knocked upon the
door, the night having fallen by this time, all inside were too scared to answer the knock. Their only thought, that the apparition
had followed them home. Finally, Ashley, the father, answered the door and the man outside related that their aunt had passed away
at about the time they had seen the woman in white.