Most of my experiences as an accidental ghost hunter have been benign. In fact, many times I’m not even aware that I’ve had a ghostly encounter until I get my pictures developed. There was, however, one instance when I was very aware, and it was my most frightening experience to date.
This past summer I’d gone to Tombstone, Arizona, for a weekend event to do some storytelling and sign my books. Whenever I go there I usually stay at a motel in the nearby town of Benson, and being a frequent visitor to that part of the state has given me a wonderful opportunity to befriend some of the locals. I always look forward to seeing them whenever I’m in town.
I had just gotten settled into my room in Benson when one of my friends called. He’d borrowed a friend’s convertible and he wanted to take me for a ride. I was happy to accept the invitation.
One of the wonderful things about visiting small, rural Arizona communities in the summertime is the chance to do some stargazing. Most of us live in cities, and light pollution makes seeing the stars from our own backyards difficult, if not impossible. I told my friend that’s what I wanted to do, and he knew the perfect spot. It was along the side of a road near an old western movie set.
We had just pulled over and shut the engine down. I looked up at the sky and marveled at the billions of stars. It was like looking into an ocean of lights. As my mind began to wonder I thought about Star Trek, and I wondered if perhaps someday we really would explore the stars.
We’d only been there a few minutes when something very unexpected happened. I heard a strange sound. It was the sound of footsteps. Loud, heavy footsteps, and they were coming towards us.
I asked my friend if he heard them. He said yes, he did. We looked at one another in started disbelief as my mind raced with all the urban legend ghost stories I’d heard as a youngster about the young couple whose car runs out of gas on the back road in the woods…and then one of them gets murdered in a grizzly way by an unseen stranger. My friend said something to the effect of let’s get the hell out of here. He started up the car and we took off — fast.
My friend isn’t a man who scares easily, but whatever this was sure scared the bejeebers out of him. We racked our brains trying to figure out what we’d heard, but we’ve never come up with any reasonable explanation. The footsteps were too heavy to be human, and he said they didn’t sound like any animal that lives in the area. We can only conclude that whatever it was, it was inhuman, and not friendly.