Dock St. Residual Haunting
Picture a quaint mill village, the sort that prospered in the heyday of textiles. Architecturally distinguished from its neighbors only by on which side the second floor's dormer window projected, these sturdily framed pastel homes clustered within reach of the looming shadows cast by the austere hub of the town, the great ceaseless cotton mill. In rows lining narrow streets, with neatly tended kitchen gardens and adjacent yards separated only by a low fence or hedge which, rather than enforcing privacy, invited a few stolen moments of idle pleasant chatter while hanging out the day's wash. These communities dotted a widespread sultry southern landscape wherever a cotton factory was found.
Despite the sameness, or rather perhaps because of it, a Mayberry-esque quality united the inhabitants. Neighbor aided neighbor in times both good and ill. A grief or a joy for one was as for the whole. Everyone knew the others' kith and kin, pets, and the shameful skeletons in the closet, for there was always a husband who imbibed more than he ought, a wife less than sterling in her domestic tidiness and a lad or lass of the younger generation which bore a keener eye for their wild ways or laxity in morals.
This closeness of community was reinforced by the domination of the primary employer, the cotton mill. Entire families owed their livelihoods to it. It was not uncommon for a worker going home at the end of their day's shift to pause in greeting for a father or mother, son or daughter, aunt or uncle, brother or sister or even a grandparent heading to the start of their nightly labor. The factory never slept, and lives were patterned upon the piercing shriek of the shift change whistle.
Envision now the same, yet the mill's doors are locked closed, the monstrous looms in the weave room stilled and silent, dirt-stained windows haphazardly broken by vandals, and insidious kudzu overtaking the "NO TRESPASSING" signs hung upon the link fencing encompassing the once mighty giant. The village is now home to those who find their employment in a nearby faceless urban metropolis, and the shift change whistle rends the air no longer with its shrill calls for fresh labor. Such are the ways of progress.
And yet, can and do things remain the same? At the invitation of a friend who resides in one of the former mill houses and possesses the ability to see beyond the veil, the GHOST PRO team was pleased to investigate the reports of long departed workers still making their way along their route at shift changing time. Even before we could unload our gear we were greeted with a welcoming hospitality of the highest degree and introduced to a neighborly gentleman who knew the story of the village intimately, having grown up there.
After a brief but fascinating glimpse into history, the team gathered our facts and equipment and were shown the way to a road that once lead to the factory's shipping docks. Though still publicly open to traffic, the lane dead-ends at padlocked gates and is no longer in use except as an illegal dumping ground for litterers or as a parking spot for the occasional romantic or truant teenagers.
Stepping onto the pitted, uneven pavement, the team felt as though it had advanced into a airless yawning tunnel. Overhead the thickly entwined tree limbs admitted no starlight, and the uncurbed edges of the road in stretches became narrowed to nothing but a footpath by the predatory tendrils of voracious kudzu. Light from streetlamps at one end failed to penetrate the green gloom any distance and the weak yellow glow of the abandoned mill's security lights were yet unseen, distant beyond the far curve. The muggy June dusk became even more overwhelming in the breathless murk, and the only sound to be heard was the constant chirring of a legion of insects that from time to time presumed to dine upon the four intrepid GHOST PRO hunters.
Forgoing the use of flashlights we allowed our senses to adjust to our surrounds and activated our cameras and recorders, asking our questions of the night in hushed and respectful voices, hoping to elicit communication with any pliable spirits that might deem us of sufficient worth or curiosity to pause in their passage and make our acquaintance. Alas, it was not to be. Whether wearied from their labors or mindful of tardiness, none chose this night to share their stories with us, and neither did we detect even the faintest shrill of the ghostly shift change whistle that still held eternal sway over their comings and goings.
Regaling our host with a summary of our modest labors we were able even with a cursory inspection to dismiss almost all of our photographic evidence of orbs as caused by insects, airborne debris and moisture from the rampant humidity of the evening, yet a short sequence of still shots remained that defied explanation. Our GHOST PRO sensitive received the impression of a name just as we as a group experienced a penetrating chill, a sensation decidedly not in keeping with the night's sweltering temperatures. Snapping away in the direction indicated, an opaque green vapor was illuminated, its substance obscuring the nearest foliage while the other remained in stark, sharp clarity. In the subsequent photographs the mist diminished in size until it simply vanished. Could it be that we did indeed encounter a bygone mill hand just at shift change?
We shall allow you, our reader, to render that decision.
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The most dramatic photos of the evening were captured by Janet's quick reflexes and sharp eye. A foggy mist appeared before us and remained for approximately two minutes before receding into the darkness once again. Janet also caught the most striking orb activity.