Hood River Oregon’s Haunted Hotels

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Hood River sits in the Columbia Gorge along the Columbia river surrounded by fields, orchards, vineyards, and at the foot of Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood. “The area was inhabited by Native Americans when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through on October 29, 1805. Here they found a campsite called “Waucoma,” or “place of big trees.” The camp was located near what became known as the Dog River.” – City of Hood River Website. The town was established in 1858 and was originally called “Dog River.” The Columbia Gorge is a wonder of nature unto itself stretching 80 miles and at times is 4,000 feet deep. The Columbia River that flows through the gorge near Hood River is notorious for windsurfing and kiteboarding. On any given day you can see the sails and kites littered about the massive river.

Haunted Hood River Hotel Side View
Haunted Hood River Hotel

The quaint town of Hood River is an outdoor adventurer stronghold. Sprinter vans, mountain bikes, kite and windsurfers, and craft beer are everywhere. The town is home to about 8,000 people and it’s a blend of farmers, migrant workers in the summer working the vineyards, mountain sports enthusiasts, beer lovers, surfers, and about anyone else who loves outdoor activities.

Scenic Map of The Columbia River
Scenic Map of The Columbia River

The town is also the home of two of Oregon’s most haunted hotels. The “Hood River Hotel” and “The Columbia Gorge Hotel.” The Hood River hotel established in 1912 is now over 100 years old and the magnificent Columbia Gorge Hotel will turn 100 next year in 2021. After a century in business, these hotels have seen some life and even some death. The town was originally a major hub for trade before being discovered as an outdoor person’s hot spot. With hundreds of thousands of visitors a year there are stories to tell.

The Haunted Hood River Hotel

Haunted Hood River Hotel Front
Haunted Hood River Hotel Front Door, Hood River, Oregon

The original hotel named the Mt Hood Hotel dates back to 1888 which was strategically located near the train depot in the center of town. It is the oldest hotel in the city of Hood River. Local lore tells of the original owner Ola Bell still inhabiting room 319 even though she died in 1942. She owned the hotel for over 30 years and her ghost is said to still haunt the hallways. The haunting ranges from sheer terror guests have experienced such as mortal fear when entering a room and disembodied footsteps to less terrifying events such as doorknobs moving with no one in sight, phantom phone calls. The most horrifying account comes from a guest staying in room 310. The guest reported opening the door and becoming overcome with dread, this the statement left in their review of the hotel room ” I nearly knocked my poor daughter down trying to get out. Every hair on my body stood on end, every rational thought left my brain and all I could do was yell GO GO GO GET OUT GET OUT.”

The Haunted Columbia Gorge Hotel

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Haunted Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Oregon

The Columbia Gorge Hotel was built by Simon Benson, who was involved with the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. Benson envisioned a hotel at the end of the highway and completed the Mission style hotel in 1921. The new hotel was built on the site of the previous Wah Gwin Gwin Hotel, built in 1904. Between 1925 and 1952, the hotel went through several changes of ownership.

The then-48-room hotel closed in 1952, when it was sold to the Neighbors of Woodcraft, a non-profit fraternal benefit society based in Oregon since 1905, and converted into a retirement home.It was sold again in 1978, with the new owners planning to reopen it as a hotel. After a $1-million renovation, the now-42-room hotel reopened in September 1979. 

In January 2009, the landmark hotel closed its doors again, due to foreclosure. The foreclosing bank later re-opened the hotel before selling it to Vijay Patel’s A-1 Hospitality Group in October 2009 for around $4 million. Between 2009 and 2012, the hotel underwent a major renovation. The hotel is currently open and you can take a virtual toor.

Haunting and ghost sightings within the hotel vary. There are sighting of a woman in White attire who allegedly committed suicide at the hotel, most recently sitting at a park bench on the ground. Scents of cigar smoke with no identifiable cause possibly related to a retiree who died on the premises when it was a retirement home. There are other sightings of a ghost of a child near an area that once held a pool. Room 330 has reports of another female ghost of unknown origin. Rooms have been found barricaded with no known cause and a man wearing a frock coat and a top hat been seen.

Recent guests report strange dreams such as this guest in 2020 “I saw a black mass hovering above my the nightstand next to the bed. In the dream, it started to smoke and the room started on fire due to this presence.” In 2018 Another guest reported, “I saw a human form walk around the foot of our bed and to my side of the bed, suddenly I couldn’t move or speak.” That was not the only guest who was left paralyzed in fear. Another man in 2016 reported “my wife said she couldn’t move, speak or open her eyes, she was in a frozen state. I woke up when something felt like tugging or sitting on the blankets on my side of the bed that sent tingles up my legs.”

Columbia Gorge Hotel Information Guide
Columbia Gorge Hotel Information Guide

The town of Hood River is beautifully nestled along the Columbia River Gorge. It is home to some of the best outdoor activities in Oregon but it also has a long and haunted history. It’s well worth a visit for ghost-hunters, historians, and anyone who visits the great haunted state of Oregon.

Want more Oregon Lore, check out these articles?

https://puzzleboxhorror.com/tag/oregon/

Index
https://cityofhoodriver.gov/community/history/
https://www.columbiagorgehotel.com/
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g51909-d114266-r605770471-Hood_River_Hotel-Hood_River_Oregon.html
https://thoughtcatalog.com/amy-venezia/2015/09/i-spent-a-night-at-the-columbia-gorge-hotel-after-i-heard-stories-of-its-haunted-rooms/
https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/hood-river-hotel.html
https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/columbia-gorge-hotel.html

La Mala Hora – Urban Legend Explored

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Mexico has enough folklore and urban legends to make HP Lovecraft cancel his flight, though none are as menacing and confrontational as the dreaded La Mala Hora.

The Legend

La Mala Hora relates to The Devil’s Hour; a time many know as 3am, and a time at which one may wake suddenly for no perceptible reason with an acute sense of dread wallowing in their stomach. This uncanny hour has been associated with practice of witchcraft, imbued with great satanic significance and even held accountable for the true story of The Amityville Horror, though residents of Mexico know it as something rather more tangible, and far more horrifying. 

In 1910 the phenomenon was described by Aurelio Espinosa as a malicious entity that stalked crossroads around Mexico at night. It would hunt, torment, and even kill anyone brave enough to ignore the tales and travel home alone at such an hour. If these individuals were unfortunate enough to come across the dreaded La Mala Hora and gaze headlong into it, they would be driven hideously and irreversibly insane. Sounds like Mexico has been reading a little of Lovecraft’s work after all.

And because of this, this particular spirit is said to be more feared than the devil himself. Most of Mexico flat-out refuses to talk about it, changing the subject or simply referring to it as “an evil thing”.  

La Mala Hora takes great pleasure in driving its victims mad. Not only this, but it will often attack helpless travelers, paralyzing them in their tracks and brutalizing their weakened forms. After being suffocated by the fiend their bodies are left at the side of the road.

La Mala Hora Lady in White

In Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, the insidious entity is told to take the form of a beautiful woman, sometimes dressed in white, sometimes in black. This incarnation and its diversely gruesome behaviours come across like some demented video game enemy gone rogue. When dressed in white La Mala Hora is said to be gentler and more graceful. She hypnotises weary travellers who, if they don’t notice the space between her feet and the ground, or the fact that her toes are backwards, or the fact that their lanterns have stopped working and all sense of direction seems lost, will follow her obediently into wherever peril she chooses. Perhaps this will be off the edge of a ravine, or perhaps in front of the next passing car. 

When dressed in black, La Mala Hora is more aggressive. She will stop a traveller by any means and attack directly with her pointed nails. The strong-willed should hope to meet her on a “white night,” while no one should hope to see her in black. 

One particular story has been circling the internet for quite some time, earning La Mala Hora its creepypasta certification along the way. In this story a woman goes to stay with her friend who is experiencing marital troubles. On the way she almost hits a woman in the road who, when the car stops, begins scratching fiercely at the windows in an attempt to get in. After driving away as quickly as possible, our protagonist reaches her friend who tells her frantically that she has seen La Mala Hora, the spirit who only appears when death is close. The woman then calls her husband, who she finds has been mugged and shot to death in another area. 

New Mexico Legend

On the southern border of the United States, in the state of New Mexico, La Mala Hora seems to appear much closer to Espinosa’s original description. Usually it’s seen as a black abstract form, like a fleece of wool which expands and contracts, changing size and shape and seemingly floating along the roadside. A widely feared omen, this incarnation is only told to be seen when death is soon to befall a loved one. I would imagine a lot of concerned yet apologetic phone calls taking place around 3am in Mexico. 

One thing is for sure; if I lived near any of the places that La Mala Hora is said to appear, I would doubtfully ever go out after midnight. 

References

10 Fascinating Facts About The Devil’s Hour, 3AM – Listverse

Mexican Monstresses: La Mala Hora – Multo (Ghost) (wordpress.com)

La Mala Hora: From Scary stories at Americanfolklore.net

Urban Legends And Ghost Stories: La Mala Hora (urbanlegends66.blogspot.com)

Ohio’s Helltown Urban Legends and History

Categories
Featured Haunted Places

The history of Helltown, Ohio – a small town plagued by rumors of hauntings, mutant snakes, murder, missing people, and chemical spills.

Tales of the supernatural surround the region formerly known as Boston, Ohio. The village of Boston was founded in 1806 and existed relatively uneventfully until 1974, when it became a footnote in American history. That was the year President Gerald Ford signed a bill that gave the federal government’s National Park Service jurisdiction to expropriate land for the establishment of National Parks. The NPS decided that Boston Township would be the new home for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and began buying the properties and forced evictions of its longtime residents. But the town’s history was much more frightening than anyone would have imagined. What was once Boston, Ohio is now known as Helltown.

The Legends of Helltown, Ohio

Helltown park map featuring drawn map and old photo of the town

“Now we know how the Indians felt.” and “No Trespassing”

Notes left on doors of abandoned houses in Helltown, Ohio

The abandoned village has attracted the interest of urban explorers and ghost hunters, who have uncovered strange orbs, lights, and heard disembodied voices. In 1985, a local dump near the village was discovered to be polluted with toxic chemicals. There are also dark rumors of satanic worshipers who frequent the area and use the abandoned buildings for their nefarious rituals, a haunted school bus and restless ghosts in the cemetery.

Helltown Cemetery

The “Boston Cemetery,” one of many haunted cemeteries in the US, named after the original township has many stories. One involves a ghost who sits on a bench, waiting for his family to come back to him. Another legend from the cemetery states that the only souls not forced to leave the area are the dead, and they sit in this abandoned ghost town, looking for their families which have left so long ago.

The Presbyterian church

old white church

A tiny white church in Helltown is at the center of local urban legends. Some locals believe it was once a place where Satanists worshipped, and that those same Satanists still wander the abandoned streets, hoping to entice visitors with tales of their sinister powers.

The abandoned bus

Road Closed sign from Helltown Ohio

A ghostly school bus stands on the grounds of Helltown. One legend says that it was supposed to be carrying high school students on a ski trip, but an elderly woman flagged it down and warned the driver that there was a young boy in her house who was seriously hurt. It was a trap though and all the students were murdered by a serial killer. In another version of the story it was satanists who sacrificed the students. As the legend goes you can see either the ghosts of the killer or his victims still sitting inside if you peer through the windows of the bus.

Toxic Waste and Monstrous Snakes

There was a private dump not far from Helltown owned by the Krejci family. The Dump was eventually sold to the National Park Service in the early 1970s, but it took until 1985 for the agency to take possession of the land. At first, investigators believed the area was nothing more than an old junkyard. They started to report strange odors, headaches, and even rashes. One man became physically ill, and was reported to be vomiting profusely while cleaning up the dump. The Environmental Protection Agency was called in and found there were thousands of drums of toxic chemicals that had been dumped on the land by major corporations over the decades the Krejci family ran the private landfill.

Peninsula Python Urband Legend from Helltown Ohio. Image of a giant mutant snake

The “Peninsula Python” is mutant snake created from the toxic dump left behind at the Krejci landfill. It is known to be up to 19 ft long with a wide track possibly as wide as a car time. It is dark with brownish blotches. It can climb trees and rear up like a cobra. It’s known to raid henhouses.

There are a few sighting reported from fandom.com.

Clarence Mitchell saw an 18-foot snake crawling across his cornfield near Peninsula, Ohio, on June 8, 1944. After several days of effort, a posse that had been formed on June 25 failed to find any evidence other than broken branches and trails leading to the Cuyahoga River. Reports of a large snake were made through August 1 by other residents of the valley, including Pauline Hopko, who said it slithered away from a willow tree in her yard and frightened her cows so much that they broke loose and ran away.

https://itsmth.fandom.com/wiki/Peninsula_Python

Helltown remains a mystery inside of several tragedies. It is a destination for urban legends, ghost hunters and historians alike. The town remains vacant but accessible.

Is it Illegal to Visit Helltown, Ohio?

No, Visitors can see Helltown without fear of breaking the law. The town is in Boston Township, Ohio, just off Rt. 422. Some residents still live outside the designated national park area but the town remains abandoned. The area is open; it’s free; and it’s less than 20 miles from downtown Cleveland. It’s a quick daytrip and although you could probably stay overnight, do you really want to?

Film and TV about Helltown

Helltown Documentary – This Documentary / Docudrama explores the different aspects, theories, facts, contradictions and speculations of what may have really happened in Helltown 1974.

Travel Channel Episode – Travel Channel explores Helltown.

Lost in Helltown – This looks like the beginning of an indie horror film

Youtube

Sources

https://allthatsinteresting.com/helltown-ohio

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2016/05/10/helltown-ohio/

https://itsmth.fandom.com/wiki/Peninsula_Python

http://www.weirdus.com/states/ohio/abandoned/hell_town/

Ozark Howler – Cryptid Lore

Categories
Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

Date of Discovery

The Ozark Howler sightings date back to the early 1800s in some southern regions of the United states. The earliest legend comes from Daniel Boone’s encounter with this creature. Legends say Boone fired a few shots at the creature, some say he took it home as a trophy, but little evidence supports that. The most recent sightings came in 2015 when a local resident claims to have photographed the Howler at Devil’s Den State Park.

Devils Den State Park

An imposing icon in the Arkansas Ozarks, Devil’s Den State Park boasts beautiful natural scenery and structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park contains a system of caves and underground rivers, as well as trails to surrounding forests that offer hikes and horseback riding opportunities. Lake Devil, a CCC-built dam spanning Lee Creek, also attracts fishing and boating enthusiasts.

Ozark Howler

The Ozark Howler “Howler” has racked up a list of names such as Howler and the Ozark Black Howler. Some of these creatures’ lesser-known names are the Hoo-Hoo, the Nightshade Bear, and the Devil Cat. This creature is known to live in remote areas in the Ozarks. Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas are the four states that make up the Ozark area and have the most sightings of the Howler.

The notable howl is described as eerie, violent and loud. A mixture between several creatures but none specific enough to know its true origins.

Physical Description

Ozark Howler drawing resembling a large bear with horns and claws

These creatures are typically a bear sized being, with a thick and stocky build. It’s covered with black shaggy hair, and in some reports has prominent horns near their ears. This “Howler” has glowing red eyes and the cry of a wolf’s howl, elk’s bugle, and the laugh of a hyena. Often some sightings claim this creature is a large ‘’cat-like’’ monster, but the size of a bear. Still have shaggy hair, but the tan color of a mountain lion or puma. This version does not come with horns, however. Also the “cat” version of the Howler as orangey-red glowing eyes, but the growl of a big cat rather than a true howl.

Origin

This creature has origin tales from Arkansas to Missouri, Oklahoman and Northern Texas and back, all pointing to the 1800s as its true origin date. Many believe this was a hoax to fool the cyptid community from early American folklore, while others have determined the Howlers real. Some claim this is a lost branch of the mountain lion line mix with and unknown ‘big cat’ breed. This missing link from Howler to a big cat has scientists scrambling to match the species and close this unknown link.  

The Ozark Howler is not the only cryptid to be likened to other animals such as the Sasquatch, Dogman and many others.

Mythology and Lore

Some legends state the Howler to be a growling demon stalking its prey across the country or mountainsides. Others report the Howler appearing in the distance just for a look at the passer-byes before disappearing again. The 1800s versions of the Howler telltale of people being attacked and killed; while recent tales to match. Most sightings have become passive walk byes with some strange howling or growling.

Scientists have spent years research breeding populations of big cats in the Ozark area, as well as thermal imagery in hopes of catching a reading of this creature. Many large-scale efforts have been brought to sighting location’s in multiple states, only turning up minor evidence the Howler could have been there. Paw prints and dark hairs are the only traces past blurred out pictures and local tales.  This, however, does not stop locals, researchers, and cryptid hunters from searching out the Howler. Many still comb the area in hopes of seeing this creature.

The Ozark Howler Hoax

Adding even more confusion to this creature’s tale in the late 1990s hoax. Convinced this and other legends were a hoax, an Arkansas student made it his mission to prove the cryptid community wrong. This person flooded websites and blogs with outlandish sighting stories of the Howler, as well as other legends. This made researching and proving the truth of the Howler, to be massively difficult. Scientists have since launched full investigations to get to the bottom of the Howler legend. Chad Arment even states in his book Cryptozoology that the Ozark Howler is definitely a hoax, but there is no further evidence presented.

In 2015 News Leader ran a story from a tipster, John Meyers who sent in photos that were meant to be the Ozark Howler. However, the pictures were thought to be heavily photoshopped and barely resemble the Howler legend.

John was quoted in News Leader saying “Met some family in Devil’s Den State Park this weekend for some camping,” the tipster wrote. “We were up near Yellow Rock trail head this morning and saw this thing chase a squirrel up a tree and I have never seen anything like it. It had short black fur, a broad nose and horns like a young deer but it moved like a cat and had a long tail. Don’t know what else it could be but the Howler.  It was yelping and scratching at the tree and I got this pretty good photo when it stopped and turned to look at me. Wish I had video or more photos but it disappeared too fast….You can give me a call I’m an electrician so usually available to talk for a minute.” 

The Search Continues

Today many still search for the Ozark Howler across the States, others have written this creature off completely. Unfortunately, we will have to make our own choice as to what we believe over this creature’s truth. Hopefully, in a few years, the cryptid community will be able to say for sure what is truth and what is false information. Thus giving Howler hunters a set origin and behavior to match the creature they so long to capture. This is one creature that real or not, has dug deep into American folklore of the Ozark region. It is doubtful the Howler will ever be free from humans searching it out, but it is a fun, albeit potentially dangerous, way to spend your time traveling the Ozarks.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature about the Ozark Howler

Movies about the Ozark Howler

Index

Fandom
Explore Southern History
Unlock the Ozarks


Is there anything we missed about Ozark Howler? Let us know in the comments section below!

Phantom Hitchhikers and Vanishing Vagabonds

Categories
Indie Horror

Phantom hitchhikers, or vanishing hitchhikers are most popular as an urban legend, or ghost story within the continental United States–typically a young woman stranded on the side of the road who desperately needs to get home. This original story based on the phantom hitchhiker legend is a typical account of what is to be expected if you were to pick her up on the side of the road.

Upon a Lonely Road…

Lightning cracked, the electricity streaked across the sky in brilliant resonance, lighting up the dismal drowning mountainous landscape. The rain was suffocating his windshield, even with his wipers at their highest speed, he could barely see the road ahead of him. The man’s hands tightened around the steering wheel and his knuckles blanched as the road began to twist angrily down the lonely mountain road—walking in on his wife in the throws of passion with another man was just the start of his bad luck it seemed, now he felt as if he were going to careen off an icy road into a dark deep ditch. He sighed, his heart ached deeply and the song on the radio mirrored the depth of his pain. He truly didn’t know where he was going tonight, but it was better than where he had come from.

Phantom Hitchhiker on the road

The patter of rain against his windshield was deafening as he rounded another treacherous turn and he flicked on his high beams—it was at that moment he caught sight of a woman walking down the side of the road. His brow furrowed, she was dressed too poorly for the weather and there weren’t any homes that he knew of in the area, he couldn’t imagine the type of luck she had that would land her in the situation that she was clearly in. He slowed his truck to a stop just as he had passed her by, his blinker clicked steadily, matching the beat of the music that droned on in the background. He reached over and opened his door for the woman as she approached the cab, then shivered as the cold air pulled him into its tight embrace. His breath blurred his view of the woman as she stopped in front of him, “are you going towards town?”

“Yeah, I’m in no rush though, where are you headed?” The bedraggled woman slid into his truck and closed the door, her white dress had her soaked to the bone—he turned up the heater for her, then pulled off his own jacket, offering it up to her.

“I live downtown, if you don’t mind, I can give you directions?” The man nodded and she accepted his coat graciously and pushed her wet hair out of her face. He didn’t know if he ought to ask her what had led her to be on the side of the road at this hour, in such awful weather, but he figured that it really wasn’t any of his business, so decided against it. He pulled back onto the road and felt the awkward air that had taken over the entire truck. Her hands twisted uncomfortably in her lap, his coat hung limply over her pathetic and grief-stricken figure. There were no words that could be spoken now, anything he thought of uttering left his mind just as soon as his lips moved to speak the words. The road continued to be treacherous, but she seemed unbothered by anything, his eyes drifted to her face briefly, her lips formed an unconscious pout that drew him in.

He hadn’t noticed when she had gotten in that she possessed such beauty, but he didn’t linger on it long, the road finally evened out as they reached the bottom of the mountain and his mind wandered to other things. The woman maintained her painfully silent demeanor, her exhaustion was apparent and it was clear she wasn’t much of a conversationalist.

They made it downtown without incident, she only spoke briefly to tell him where to turn and finally they made it to their destination—he brought his truck to a stop in front of the house she had indicated and turned it off. He turned to wish her luck, but his eyes landed on an empty, drenched seat. He blinked, dumbfounded, she couldn’t have possibly have left without his notice—but in her place there was a small, damp leather-bound book. He picked up the book, then thumbed through it realizing it was her journal and somehow felt dirty, as if he had stolen her secrets.

The confusion that he felt in that moment would never match his need of an answer for what had happened—how she had suddenly vanished from his company, there had to be a reasonable explanation of what he had experienced. He stepped out of his truck and approached the house, uncertainty was the only thing he knew anymore, but perhaps she had just slipped away without his notice. He found his finger on the door bell and briefly entertained the idea of running from what he might find out here, but before he could follow through, a woman answered the door.

“Hello, can I help you?” The woman looked drained, as if the night had been a long and deeply harrowing experience for her as well.

“I… I just gave a young woman a ride here, she left her journal in my truck?” He handed her the book and saw a change in her expression.

“This must be a mistake… This can’t be,” her voice caught in her throat as she opened the journal’s cover, “perhaps you should come inside, I’ll get my husband.” The man stepped inside the home cautiously, he felt like an imposter, but he needed to know what was going on. The woman led him to their sitting room, where the walls were covered in pictures of what looked like family and friends. Just as he took his seat, his eyes caught a picture of the woman who had answered the door hugging the young woman who he had picked up on the side of the road.

“What’s going on?” He almost knew the answer, but he didn’t dare speak his own truth, “where is she?”

The woman whimpered under her breath and once her husband came into the room, she handed him the journal. “This man brought us Heather’s journal,” was all she could get out before she became noticeably upset and walked quickly out of the room.

The man began talking, trying to detail everything that had brought him to their house tonight—he didn’t care how wildly untrue it sounded, or if his crazy story made him seem like he was completely out of his mind. The husband listened intently, his face remained calm and there was an eerie ease that settled the man as he finished his story. “I’m sorry, I know how all of this sounds, I’m just a stranger—I—I can let myself out.”

The husband raised his hand to stop him, “no, please. I know what it sounds like, I know you probably feel like you’re going insane, but… you’re not the first person to try to bring her home.”

The man’s breath caught in his throat, “I—what?”

“Heather has been trying to come home on the anniversary of her murder for the last six years, but we’ve never gotten anything like this before,” the husband’s hands clutched the journal gratefully. “They never found her killer, but… this may give us some closure. I know my wife wasn’t able to say it, but we appreciate your time.”

The man’s heart was beating much too violently in his chest and he couldn’t stand it, he had to get out of here, he had to put some distance between himself and what had happened tonight. There were so many questions that he had, but he knew he could never ask them. The man got the name of the young woman from her mother and father, then made his goodbyes—he knew his next stop would be at the closest dive bar he could find. It would be too much to ask for this to all be a weird dream, but seeking numbness on his own from the bottom of a liquor bottle might make him forget about what he had experienced.

The next morning greeted him with a headache that mimicked the after effects of a concussion—he sat up from his uncomfortable position in his truck and rubbed his eyes to find that he had driven himself to a cemetery after he had left the bar the night before. He was grateful he wasn’t waking up to a tree through his windshield and was about to start his truck up and drive away before something strange caught his eye. His eyes narrowed and he stepped out of his truck, the gloomy, overcast day gave him something to be grateful for, no sun to shine in his eyes between the thumps of his throbbing head. He approached the tombstone that had captured his attention, and realized that what had drawn him there was the fact that his coat was draped so gently over this particular stone. It all came back to him at that moment, the hitchhiker, her parents—the lack of explanation of what had really happened—he picked up his coat and saw her name chiseled into the stone.