By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – Have you ever experienced something you felt no one would ever believe? Have you ever wondered if you told someone they might just think you were crazy and they might just be right? This is one of those tales.

Anyway, to make a long story short, during the spring of this year, I spent a lot of time on the road shuttling back and forth between Grapeland and the Lufkin / Nacogdoches area covering baseball and softball games.

Perhaps it was because I was tired from standing out in the sun taking pictures of the game or I was finally starting to feel the effects of being hit in the eye by a foul ball. Whatever the reason, that evening night as I was coming back from Lufkin, I saw something that to this day makes me question my own mental state.

Pantera was blasting from the speakers as I rounded a curve outside of Augusta and saw what I thought was a fire in the wood line. I pulled over on a dirt road near where I thought I might have a clear shot and grabbed my camera. It was then I noticed that what I first believed was a fire, wasn’t there anymore. It had disappeared.

You have to wonder sometimes if you made the right decision. As I sat there in in my car looking for something that wasn’t visible anymore, I realized how tired I was and thought maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me. All of a sudden, however, the light reappeared about 50 yards away from its initial location.

Having already re-assembled my camera, I figured why not? Let’s go see what this is. If nothing else, I thought maybe I would run across something of interest, take a picture, get back in my car and continue on my merry way.

As I got out of my car, I noticed a smell. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was odd. I couldn’t seem to quite figure out what it was. As I walked towards where the light was, I also noticed it appeared to be changing colors in a pattern. It went from red to yellow to orange.

Leary of what – to me – was becoming increasingly weird, I stood there in the middle of this dirt road in the middle of nowhere and heard what sounded like a machine running. There was a low pulse, or maybe a hum but it wasn’t like anything I had ever heard. The light and the sound were mesmerizing and both seemed to be getting closer.

Lightning flashed in the sky and brought me out of the stupor I found myself in. I looked up at the sky and then back to where the light was and noticed it was gone. There was no light, no sound – nothing.

Out of nowhere, I heard something hit my car. I jumped at the sound and turned to look. By this time, I was starting to get a little freaked out and to be honest, I was afraid of what I might see when I turned around.

When I finally summoned the courage to turn, there appeared to be nothing there, or so I thought. As my eyes focused in the gathering dusk, I saw a dead bird by the passenger door. As I was staring at this bird, that smell came back. It was an ozone-like smell with kind of an undertone of rotted meat. Now, I was absolutely freaked out and quickly started walking back to the car.

Each step I took seemed to get more and more difficult. I looked down to see if I was walking through some sort of mud, but that wasn’t it.

Every living thing was dead! The grass that had been so green when I pulled in was now brown, there was the bird I had seen earlier and as I got closer to my car I noticed three rabbits near the front it – all dead.

Now, I’m not saying I’m sure this happened, but I’m also not saying it didn’t. The smell, the lights, the dead animals – it was all just a little too weird. I got in my car and was absolutely sure it wouldn’t start. Just as I turned the key, a truck drove by on the black top blaring its horn. Surprisingly, the engine turned over. I jammed the car into reverse, punched the gas pedal, backed up, spun it around and left.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.