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There are reasons you don’t go out in Picher at night, or if you’re smart, not at all.

May 26, 2011

Mine is somewhat more explainable than the others I have read here, but it is still still balls to the wells creepy and strange, so here we go.

First, a little history lesson.

There is a place not far from my own town that is the last dying remnant of a mining town nestled in one of the most desolate, polluted, unsettling places in the world- this place is called Picher. Don’t believe me? Google it. The place is dominated by chat piles- mountains of grey gravel and dirt that stretch up hundreds of feet, collapsed mines and sink holes, abandoned and destroyed roads and buildings. The place is an absolute post apocalyptic wasteland, other than the few people who still refuse to give up their claim of land on the borderlands of hell. And there are even less of those now, since a tornado swept through and demolished half the town a few years ago. Once again, google.

But strangestof all, there is a cult out there that hides in the chat piles and forgotten mines.

In and around Picher, things have a funny habit of going missing- pets, livestock, and even drifters. And they don’t usually show back up. Where do they wind up, you might ask? At the bottoms of water filled mines, stretching down hundreds of feet into the earth, disposed of by these people, is the most common answer. Most of the locals just call them a “Satanic cult,” but then, I know that there are a lot more things out there to worship and give tribute to than just old Scratch, who who knows. It isn’t even a scoffed at as some urban legend- the locals know that they’re out there just as surely as they know anything, and they don’t keep guns loaded by the bed for ghost stories. It isn’t ever a wise idea to go exploring the chat piles and abandoned stretches of waste at night, because the people I have met over the years that had encounters all claim that these people mean business, not hesitating to chase after or taking shots at whoever might have had the nerve to interrupt their rites. Sometimes, though, if you investigate during the day, you will come across the remains of whatever it was they did the night before. Fire pits, stone circles, dead animals, an occasionally a bit of jewelry or some other little oddity. I saw three of them once when they attempted a road trap on myself and some friends on a dirt road, but it has been much more often that I have come across those cold traces at one time or another out there exploring. A burned log here, a hollowed out dog there, and once even a ring, which upon consideration, I left right where I had found it. One thing always stood out though, stranger than the rest, that I saw.

I had seen a vertical shape in the distance, though obviously not a tree, and decided to investigate it. And the closer I got, the more and more unnerved I became at the steady realization of what it was. A wooden cross, planted in the ground, every bit of seven feet high. And there was something on it.

From the distance I thought it was actually a person on there, and that had my adrenaline racing, ready to turn and race back to my car if that was the truth of it or if I so much as heard a twig snap. But the closer I got, I realized that it was something else, some sort of animal. It was a goat.

But let me explain. It’s front legs had been cut and broken so that they could form a T, like a human, and it’s ankles had been nailed into the wood. As had the ankles of the back legs, crossed over each other. A true crucifixion. The topper, though, was the head. A crown of rose bush thorns had been wrapped around the things head, it’s horns jutting up through the center, which in a way made me think of the cartoon devil using it’s horns to hold up the halo. It’s eyes had been gouged out. And there was a silver dollar shoved in it’s mouth, keeping it propped open in a silent scream.

I turned and left, walking at a brisk pace to say the least, keeping my eyes pealed for any sign of people hiding in the trees or chat piles, my hand close to the pistol under my coat. I did hear some rocks go sliding at one point, but saw no one, and made it to my car unharassed and proceeded to haul ass out of that place.

There are reasons you don’t go out in Picher at night, or if you’re smart, not at all.

I can tell the other Picher one- it’s both less unsettling, yet to me, was infinitely more frightening.

You see, Picher has a great deal of what people here refer to as “back roads.” You’ve got the actual town, which isn’t all that large, especially now, and then you’ve got all these dirt roads that wind throughout the surrounding countryside- around the chat piles, over the polluted streams and creeks, and through miles of empty fields and forests. And lots of dead ends. At night, they make for an incredibly creepy, sometimes even surreal, drive. And so, bored one night, three friends and myself went driving on those roads at about two in the morning in order to give ourselves a good scare.

We got it.

We had been driving for around thrity minutes at this point and were finally getting bored, deciding to call it a night. After a few minutes, we found a familiar dirt road, which wound through an area surrounded by trees (I hesitate to call it “woods,” as the trees almost seem too sickly for that), but which eventually would lead us back out onto the main road and turned onto it. I had actually started to nod off in the back when I noticed that we seemed to be slowing down, and then that we had stopped. When I opened my eyes, I saw that there was a smallish tree lying across the road.

Now, in this area, this isn’t all that strange or uncommon- these back roads are lined with young trees, shrugs, and lots of high grass that the local officials seldom bother to trim or cut, and when a decently strong storm comes through, you can wind up with a lot of stuff across the road. Nothing out of the usual. Now awake and actually listening to my friends, I discovered they had decided to hop out and move the tree instead of trying to go back and find another road home and losing more time. We had actually had a storm a few days prior, and so as I have said, this wasn’t too strange of a happening for this area.

But something seems off to me.

At first, I can’t decide exactly what it is, so I simply tell them to wait a minute. I still can’t figure it out, and they get ready to step out again, when it all sort of clicks together. I point out that the storm was three days ago, and this road has almost definitely been used since then, so it makes no sense for that tree to still be there. Not only that, but this tree is the ONLY debris in the road- no other saplings, no other limbs, just this one tree, and that doesn’t make sense. They realize the same, and decide that there is something off about this, and so we move to turn around and find one of the other roads.

That’s when it happened.

As we backed up and began to turn, the headlights shone directly into the ditch at the side of the road. Remember how, earlier, I mentioned that these are covered in high grasses, shrubs, and small trees? These also make for excellent screens. When the headlights hit that spot, we could finally see that there were three men crouching there in a clump of tall grass, all wearing plain black clothes, and one of them holding what appeared to be a shotgun. I assume that they realized they had been spotted, as they began to stand, but my friend wasted no time at all in spinning us around and flooring it. We kept looking back, worried that they would follow, but we never saw any signs that they did.

When we finally got far enough out of Picher to get service on our phones again, we immediately called the police and had them go out there, but by then the men were already gone. There was really nothing for them to do other than move the tree out of the way, attribute the whole thing to psychos, and remind us to be careful. While the incident with the goat is, for me, the more strange and surreal of the two events, this one has always been infinitely more frightening to me.

– Posted by Hahahangmansjoke; Reddit

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